The new Taco Bell across from Berkshire Crossing is under construction.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — A new restaurant chain is planning to open in Berkshire Crossing.
Chipotle Mexican Grill filed a notice of intent with the Conservation Commission for the proposed redevelopment of the existing Taco Bell.
The site plan came in front of the commission Thursday because the restaurant is located within a riverfront area of the the East Branch of the Housatonic River.
Taco Bell and Chipotle will be neighbors, as the commission signed off on the construction of a new Taco Bell across the street on Dalton Avenue last year that is expected to open in late 2021.
Design consultant Karlis Skulte of Civil and Environmental Consultants Inc. said the site will remain "relatively unchanged" with aesthetic changes but no alternation in square footage. They are proposing some infrastructure improvements.
The eatery plans to repave a portion of the parking lot that is in rough shape, add and rebuild sidewalks on the property, and install additional landscaping.
The original design had additional patio space in the rear of the building but was eliminated.
"Chipotle doesn't really work well with a pull up to the window on the window and order type of approach," Skulte explained.
"So they're proposing to use this as essentially a mobile application when you call-in your order, and they're going to be able to use the drive-through as a means to pick it up without having to get out of your car so it's a little bit different approach."
Commissioner Jonathan Lothrop expressed that he would like to see additional stormwater management measures taken on the site and Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar suggested that the applicant considers all native shrubbery in the front landscaping.
The project was approved and commissioners said Chipotle's proposal will likely go in front of the Community Development Board and/or the City Council before its final approval.
In other news, the commission decided that the Springside Park pump track proposal's location is not within a wetland resource or buffer zone. They made a negative determination in response to a request for determination of applicability (RDA) associated with two areas of land within the property located at Springside Park.
The proposal, which includes a pump track and bike skills park for public use, has sparked debate between opposers and supporters. Those in opposition attended Thursday's meeting to share their sentiments, citing concerns of negative environmental effects from the track.
Last month, the Parks Commission recommended that the project leaders, the Berkshire Chapter of the New England Mountain Biking Association, file an RDA to be reviewed by the Conservation Commission to ensure the track would not be within a wetlands buffer zone.
The Conservation Commission then tabled the RDA because of confusion related to the two possible locations — a northern and southern site — for the pump track and requested clarification from the applicants before voting.
If it is not within the 100-foot buffer zone, that takes it out of the Conversation Commission's jurisdiction, but the Parks Commission wanted to verify the plan would not have detrimental environmental effects on the surrounding landscape.
Parks Commission Chairman Anthony DeMartino attended Thursday's meeting to confirm the proposed location of the park in the southern region of the site where a Little League field once stood.
This was requested by the Parks Commission when concern arose with the originally proposed Northern site.
Conservation Agent Robert Van Der Kar said he went to the site twice to verify that the proposal is not within 100 feet of the buffer zone.
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