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Artist's illustration of the proposed Cumberland Farms on Commercial Street in Adams.

Cumberland Farms Presents Plans for New Adams Location

By Tammy Daniels
iBerkshires Staff
04:09AM / Friday, March 05, 2021
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The new proposal has a slightly small building.
ADAMS, Mass. — The Conservation Commission applauded the plans done by Cumberland Farms so far and voted to reconvene on April 8 once its engineer has had a chance to review them. 
 
The Westborough-based convenience store chain had proposed to place a new store on Commercial Street between Elm and Prospect streets several years ago. The company ran into opposition in its first attempts to get through the permitting stage and withdrew its application in 2018. 
 
It has returned with a slightly smaller profile for the store and presented its plans on Thursday to the Conservation Commission, which has jurisdiction because of the proximity of the Hoosic River to the proposed site. 
 
The convenience chain is still proposing to demolish Al's Service Center at 95 Commercial St. and two other structures, all owned by Carol Ostrowski, and build a gas station/convenience store just south of its older location that will be closed. There also have been changes in zoning since its initial proposal, when it had to appear before the Zoning Board of Appeals for a variance. This is considered a new application.
 
"This will be our first presentation this evening," said attorney Thomas Reidy of Bacon Wilson P.C.'s real estate and zoning team. "We still do need other approvals from municipal boards that we will go through, but we understand that it's typically prudent to go through the Conservation Commission first. ... We fully expect to have this hearing continued for a peer review, but we at least wanted to give you a presentation on what it is that we're looking to do at the site and any of the potential impacts and how we think that we're mitigating."
 
Luke Distefano of Bohler Engineering of West Albany, N.Y., said the proposal is not only good for the town but also for the property for which it is being proposed. 
 
It will consist of a 4,384 square-foot convenience store, eight pumps on four stations under a 24-foot by 122-foot canopy, and 27 parking spots on the 65,000 square foot property. There will be two curb cuts, one on Commercial Street and one on Prospect Street. 
 
"That's important to note because we will be reducing the number of curb cuts currently accessing the property now given that it's multiple properties, there are multiple curb cuts," Distefano said. "We feel that consolidating the curb cuts into two, one on Commercial and one on Prospect as noted is going to result in an improvement over existing conditions, in our opinion."
 
The plans try to maintain as much green space as possible, making it about a 50/50 proposition with the impermeable surfaces. There will also be improvements to stormwater management and other existing conditions. 
 
"The site basically runs untreated and unchecked into the abutting rights of way into Prospect or Elm Street and ultimately into the city's drainage system, where it's gonna be, I believe, into the river," Distefano said. "But under our proposed conditions, if you've had an opportunity to review the notice of intent that was submitted for the drainage report, we are proposing to completely capture and infiltrate all runoff from this location."
 
He thought that treating the water before it went off site would be a major improvement and said, "we are aware of our neighbors to the north and to the northwest. So we've taken steps to provide landscape buffers, and to basically try and soften this site as much as we can."
 
"Cumberland Farms has a very nice looking gasoline facility," Distefano said. "Cumberland Farms, being a Massachusetts-based location, its always taken pride in their appearance and the type of building and design that they have throughout the entire facility."
 
The proposed building is similar to those constructed in recent years with white siding, sloped roofs and stone facades.
 
"This is a junkyard and a vacant gas station," he said. "I think you're gonna have, in my opinion, a much better property under the proposed conditions."
 
Peter Yesky, regional director for First Hartford Realty of Connecticut, said it was known at one time there were eight to nine underground tanks on the property for gasoline, kerosene and home heating fuel. It's believed that the tanks have since been removed but there are concerns about soil contamination and the company has done some borings on the site. 
 
"But the bottom line is, we're planning a substantial remediation of the site. Right now our estimate .... is about $200,000, just in soil remediation work to make sure that any soil that is classified as above standard or something that needs to be treated is taken off that site," he said. "Right now we're planning to remove about 3,000 tons of soil."
 
That contaminated soil will be replaced with as "close to natural fill as they can get." Another $85,000 is estimated for asbestos remediation and to remove other hazardous materials. 
 
"Cumberland Farms is going to do an extensive cleanup on this site," Yesky said. "We're anticipating it, we're budgeting for it, and we're ready to tackle that. They have their own internal environmental department in Westborough at their headquarters that does this all day every day."
 
The commissioners commended the plans, with Brian Bishop saying he had looked them over and "everything looks great" as long the standards are kept up and Thomas Robinson describing it as one of the finest proposals he'd seen.
 
"I think they'll definitely be an improvement to that area," said Commissioner Natasha Bordeaux. "They'll definitely have a lot more visual appeal, because right now it's just a mess out there and the greenery that they put around their stores will make it a lot cleaner looking."
 
The town has hired Hill Engineering to review the plans, which has been subcontracted to Emily Stockman of Stockman & Associates. Chairman James Fassell said Stockman would present her findings at the next meeting on April 8. 
 
The commission voted to continue the hearing to that date. 

Tags: conservation commission,   cumberland farms,   

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