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Hadley projects

Pizza Hut, bank branch among new plans on Route 9

HADLEY — A new Pizza Hut planned for the same Route 9 site where the restaurant closed four years ago and several other developments are in the works for the busiest commercial thoroughfare in Hadley.

Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said recently that the Pizza Hut project at the northwest corner of Route 9 and Campus Plaza Road includes a two-unit structure about the same size as the existing building that has been boarded up, but on a slightly different footprint.

A building with two units means a second restaurant could be housed within the Pizza Hut structure, Dwyer said, though planners do not yet know what that restaurant will be.

Meanwhile, Florence Savings Bank on Monday broke ground for its new building at 377 Russell St., on the lot in front of the Hampshire Mall that housed a McDonald’s restaurant for 40 years before it moved across the street. The new energy-efficient bank building will allow Florence Savings to move from its 355 Russell St. site and have direct access from the road, expanded private offices and conference room and a waiting area with a coffee bar and wi-fi.

Pizza Hut closed in early 2010 after town officials discovered several building code violations to the 1970s-era building, including leaks in the roof, light fixtures detached from the ceiling and the ceiling itself at risk of falling. When the owner was unwilling to pay for repairs, the restaurant closed and has been vacant since.

The Planning Board will hold a public hearing on a special permit application for the project at 7:15 p.m. May 20 at the Hadley Senior Center in which plans for the 4,500-square-foot building at 424 Russell St. will be discussed.

Dwyer said other projects underway or about to break ground on Route 9 include a 20,129-square-foot building that will house a Starbucks, Aspen Dental and AT&T store, among other stores, as part of the Hadley Corner/ Home Depot complex at 350 Russell St., and a two-story addition at the Pioneer Valley Chinese Immersion Public Charter School at 317 Russell St.

Though not before the Planning Board yet, the possible construction of a Pride gasoline station, convenience store and other retail development on the 5.4-acre parcel at the intersection of Bay Road and Route 9 remains a possibility nearly six years after Pride acquired the site.

The property still has the former Aqua Vitae restaurant and a dilapidated hotel, along with three former homes.

According to the notification form filed with the state’s Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, the proposal would include a 5,400-square-foot gas station and convenience store and a 16,000-square-foot building, along with 220 parking spaces.

Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs Secretary Richard Sullivan has raised concerns over the property being in the 100-year floodplain and the possibility of underground gas storage tanks being put there.

“I strongly encourage the proponent to reconsider the siting of this project and to provide additional information to the Conservation Commission regarding the design of the project and incorporation of measures to prevent impacts and release of contaminants,” Sullivan wrote.

The project will next be reviewed under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. Dwyer said no plans have yet been filed with the Planning Board.

In addition, the Planning Board approved a 10-acre, two-megawatt solar project to go up on a portion of the Allard Farm behind Mountain Farms Mall and adjacent to the Norwottuck Rail Trail which would join a 997-kilowatt solar farm already being constructed on Huntington Road.

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