Deerfield ZBA continues Dollar General hearing to next month

  • The proposed site plan for a Dollar General store near the intersection of Mill Village Road and Routes 5 and 10, which is not to scale, was presented at the Deerfield Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Thursday. Contributed Image

Staff Writer
Published: 8/14/2020 3:54:24 PM
Modified: 8/14/2020 3:54:12 PM

DEERFIELD — After roughly four hours of discussion on Thursday, the Zoning Board of Appeals voted to continue to September the hearing on the proposed development of a Dollar General store near the intersection of Mill Village Road and Routes 5 and 10.

The decision followed extensive discussion between board members, residents, abutters and representation for the applicant. In particular, residents expressed concern for associated traffic and the potential impact of the retail establishment on neighborhood character, as well as the potential impact of an establishment of that size on smaller, local businesses.

“I’m extremely concerned about the detriment this will bring to our neighborhood,” said resident Elyssa Klement.

Mark Donahue, attorney for the applicant, South Deerfield DG Series LLC, said progress has been made on “a number of the points” brought up at a January hearing, including information on the environmental impact, which he said resulted in studies to determine the presence of wetlands at the site.

To address traffic concerns brought up at the last meeting, Shaun Kelly, an associate at Vanasse & Associates with experience in traffic engineering, explained a number of proposed improvements to the traffic corridor. Those improvements include formalizing turning lanes, upgrading signs and streetlights, and extending bicycle provisions through the intersection of Mill Village Road and Routes 5 and 10, and continuing it southbound.

“We’re going to work with (Department of Transportation) to provide these measures, particularly the bicycle measures that don’t exist,” Kelly said.

Still, resident Laurie Boosahda and others expressed traffic concerns associated with the development, particularly with respect to truck deliveries.

“I am concerned about a backup of truck traffic on Route 5,” Boosahda said. “North of the site there is not a shoulder there. There is not a place for trucks to wait when other cars are entering or exiting.”

Kelly told the board there would be a variety of deliveries throughout the day, most of which would be in smaller trucks than what some residents were envisioning.

“You don’t see tractor trailer service in these stores,” he said.

Gina Bordoni-Cowley, owner of the Rock Fossil & Dinosaur Shop, spoke as a neighboring business owner who felt a retail establishment of the size proposed — 9,319 square feet — would have a negative impact on the social and economic growth in town.

“I have this small business and I feel like a retail store of that magnitude and lot size, in that neighborhood, next to my tiny, little family business — and one that would disrupt the environmental ecosystem there — really outweighs what I’m thinking here,” Bordoni-Cowley said.

Referencing a 3-D virtual rendering of the site plan presented by a resident at the meeting, which compared the size of the Dollar General store to nearby buildings, Donahue said he didn’t think it was a “fair representation” of what is being proposed. He said the building itself would take up less than 11 percent of the site.

Donahue said he and the applicant will review and respond to the comments at Thursday’s meeting in preparation for the next meeting, scheduled for Sept. 10.

“We’ve got some homework to do,” he said. “We’re committed to providing some additional information. There were comments made that … we want to weigh in with a reply, probably in writing to the board, to submit before the next meeting.”

Mary Byrne can be reached at or 413-772-0261, ext. 263. Twitter: @MaryEByrne

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