Board approves Infiniti, Ford special permits


Westborough – After nearly six months of public hearings, the Planning Board voted Oct. 16 to approve special permits for a Herb Chambers Infiniti dealership on the corner of Otis Street and Route 9 and a Ford service facility on the adjacent property on Otis.

Herb Chambers must now appear before the selectmen for site plan review before construction can begin.

The plans call for the existing Herb Chambers Ford dealership site to be split into two parcels, the existing paint and body shop building to be demolished, and the new 12,000-square-foot Infiniti dealership to be built in its place. The Infiniti and Ford dealerships will share a common driveway, to allow maximum distance from the Otis and Route 9 intersection.

On the adjacent property, formerly the Goodall property, the existing 17,200- square-foot building will be remodeled into a Ford service facility for the existing Ford dealership.

Initially, Herb Chambers Infiniti wanted a special permit from the Planning Board for the Infiniti site only, and attorney William Bloom told the board that Herb Chambers would return at some future point for a special permit for the adjacent property. But the board insisted that both properties be permitted at the same time, as the two sites' uses will be intertwined because the Otis property will be used for Infiniti parking.

The Planning Board was particularly concerned with providing adequate parking for the Infiniti dealership. The special permit calls for 138 employee and customer spaces, of which 52 are on the Otis site, and 25 display spaces.

The Otis site will have 83 customer and employee spaces, and 347 display spaces.

Planning Board Chair Edward Newton said the town has a problem with some of its auto dealerships parking cars outside designated parking areas and blocking fire lanes. The Herb Chambers special permits specifically note that the town's zoning enforcement officer will inspect the properties to make sure vehicles are parked only where allowed.

The special permits also require that a new drainage system be constructed and that significant landscaping be installed on both new sites and on the existing Ford site. Glare rings will also be added to the existing outdoor lights on the Ford site and the Infiniti site, to reduce glare.

The existing Ford dealership and Goodall property on Otis have less than 1 percent open space, and the special permits call for 22 percent landscaped green space on the Infiniti property and 22 percent on the Otis property.

Herb Chambers will also install, at a cost not to exceed $19,500, a new Opticom system on the traffic lights at the Otis and Route 9 intersection, to allow police and fire personnel to control the traffic lights when emergency vehicles are approaching.

Hours of construction for the Infiniti dealership are limited to 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, with no construction Sundays and holidays. The purpose is to protect the residents of the Fountainhead apartments on Route 9 from construction noise. Because there are no residents close to the Otis site, the board set no limitation on when construction could occur.