WILMINGTON, MA — The team behind the Global Montello Group’s gas station development proposal at the intersection of West Street and Lowell Street were in front of town officials on Monday morning during a Community Development Technical Review Team Meeting at Town Hall.
“We’re having this meeting so department heads and town staff can go over the applicant’s plans,” explained Wilmington Planning Director Valerie Gingrich. “We will point out what we’re looking for, note what needs to be changed, ask questions, and give feedback before they go to the Planning Board for review.”
“The Planning Board Meeting on Wednesday, July 11 will be a public hearing where comments from the audience will be welcomed,” continued Gingrich. “The Planning Board’s role is to review the layout of the project, ensure the stormwater standards are being met, and make sure traffic issues have been addressed. The Planning Board does NOT decide if the project happens or not; it just decides how the project is laid out. It’s not the same permitting process as the Board of Appeals, which allows the use; the Planning Board is just dealing with the layout and associated pieces.”
“If an interested resident can’t make the meeting on July 11, they can write us a letter and we’ll read it into the record,” said Gingirch. “They can address it to the Planning Board, and send it to the Planning Office at Town Hall, 121 Glen Road, Room 6, Wilmington, MA 01887.
After introductory remarks from Gingrich, Alan Roscoe and Michael Newhouse provided a brief overview of the project.
“The building in front is a convenience store and gasoline service area [with 10 pumps],” said Roscoe. “The building in the back has a nebulous unknown use at this time but for the site plan application, we picked the highest, most intense use — a limited service requirement.”
“There won’t be any sort of fast food operation in [the back building],” assured Newhouse. “Plans show a drive-thru in case the ultimate use is bank or small pharmacy. We anticipate if the project is approved with a drive-thu, there’d be a condition in the special permit that if any food service is offered in the rear building, there’d be no drive-thru.”
“The site is accessed predominantly via West Street, with secondary access off of Lowell Street,” said Roscoe. “There are two full service, 2-way, 2-directional driveways shown on the plans.”
Once the overview was completed, town officials went around the table, each with the opportunity to ask questions and offer critiques of Global’s submitted plans.
Planning Director Valerie Gingrich announced that she’ll recommend to the Planning Board that Global’s mandatory traffic study receive a peer review.
“Another company will take a look at the traffic study and give us their independent analysis of what was done and what they see as issues and solutions,” said Gingrich. “We’re not traffic engineers. With large projects, we often request peer-reviewed traffic studies.”
Gingrich questioned the orientation of the gas station.
“Should the station front West Street or Lowell Street? Is there a better way to orient the building? Or maybe there’s a way to make it so there’s two fronts — one on each main road?,” said Gingrich, who requested the project’s elevations to get a picture of things. Gingrich also requested that snow storage areas be added to the plans.
DPW Business & Utility Manager Joseph Lobao asked that the project add a second water line, so that the site has two separate lines — one for domestic and one for fire.
DPW Operations Manager Jamie Magaldi said the layout “looks a little tight to me” relative to tractor trailers, specifically asking about the turning radius leading to the loading zone. Magaldi also requested that granite be used on the curbing on West Street, rather than the concrete proposed in the plan.
Town Engineer Paul Alunni noted that the parking for the second building looked “light.” He also requested to see the site’s lighting plan, which hasn’t been submitted yet.
Alunni spent more than five minutes expressing a number concerns regarding the storm water management report.
“The report is missing important information that you would need to show that your design is in compliance with the policy,” said Alunni. “The pre and post development maps were nearly impossible to follow…. The permeability rate used was way too high, off by a factor of 5 to 7 in some cases… There’s a catch basin in the middle of the access drive — that’s a very poor location. The project could use another catch basin near Mr. Target… I noticed a potential daming effect with the access drive off you’ll need to address — it essentially created a bowl that could impact Lowell Street”
Alunni also offered suggestions regarding the septic system, gas lines (which he suggests be rerouted to avoid the dumpster pad), and parking.
Deputy Fire Chief Gary Donovan noted the site had “a very aggressive turn radius.” He’d be interested in the traffic study to ensure fire apparatus could easily enter. He also requested input on the location of the fire hydrant.
Conservation Agent Winifred McGowan, who is retiring this week, noted she hasn’t been unable to confirm the current wetland lines based on the prior order of conditions.
“There may be discrepancy over the wetland lines,” she cautioned.
Global representatives noted that the wetland lines were previously marked in 2015 and the flags have remained in place over the past two years.
After town officials finished with their questions, Gingrich answered some clarifying questions from Global representatives. She noted that this was a cursory review and additional comments and questions were likely.
Approximately 15 residents were in attendance at the morning meeting.
The project’s municipal consultant — former Town Manager Michael Caira — offered to meet with audience members after the meeting.
“If any of the folks have any questions for us about the project, we’d be happy to talk to them,” he said.
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