By Bonnie Adams
Westborough – At its May 24 meeting the Westborough Board of Selectmen granted site plan extensions to several businesses that are planning to renovate properties in town. Although the extensions were granted willingly, a recent measure passed at the Annual Town Meeting (ATM) held May 14 means the board will no longer have to do this for future projects.
At the ATM, voters approved an article that will require applicants to have all necessary paperwork approved by the appropriate department heads and all associated fees paid before the Board of Selectmen holds a public hearing for a site plan review. But because this change to the bylaw was just made, it does not apply to any businesses that had already started the process. Therefore, the board needed to consider and approve three different requests for extensions at the May 14 meeting.
Those included: a 90-day extension for CSX Transportation for the TRANSFLO Westborough Terminal Redevelopment Project; a 60-day extension for the Dunkin” Donuts shop on East Main Street; and a 60-day extension for the Sikh Temple located on Flanders Road.
The board also gave a conditional approval to SureFire Dogs Inc., which is in the process of establishing a dog training facility at 57 Brigham St.
Mark Beaudry, an associate at Meridian Associates, spoke to the board on behalf of his clients, Louise Hinckley and Christie McNamara, who were also present.
The women are hoping to lease 14,000 square feet at the Brigham Street address, which abuts the Bay State Commons area, for their dog-training business. Beaudry said there would be limited exterior improvements needed and several of those, he added, would be the responsibility of the property's landlord. SureFire also was requesting, he said, that it be allowed to have three signs posted – two to help direct people to their location and one outside their business.
“It's been a long time and a lot of money to get to this point,” Hinckley said, adding that the women were anxious to open by the end of June.
The selectmen noted that there were still several outstanding issues that Derek Saari, the Conservation Commission's assistant conservation officer, had noted in his report to the selectmen. These issues were in reference to establishing an annual maintenance plan and a need to clean storm drains located near the property. Without compliance with these specifications, the board said it would not be able to issue a certificate of occupancy to SureFire and thus, it could not open for business.
However, a temporary certificate of occupancy could be issued, Town Manager Jim Malloy said. This would allow them to at least begin the modifications to the inside of their business space while they waited for the landlord to do what was needed for compliance outside. The women would still assume some risk, but both agreed that they felt comfortable with the idea.
“We are very pro-business, but we also have to protect the town,” Selectman Chair Lydia Goldblatt said.
In other business, the board named Selectman Ian Johnson to serve as the board's representative to the town's Economic Development Committee. They also voted to name Selectman Timothy Dodd as the board's representative to the Sewer Cost Apportionment Sub-Committee.
As it turned out, Dodd was not able to accept this nomination because he was not in attendance due to illness. Each of the selectmen noted that they felt Dodd would do a “great job” on this particular committee but agreed that they would let him decide for himself if he indeed would like to accept this particular assignment.