By K.B. Sherman, Community Reporter
Shrewsbury – After a three-hour, at times heated meeting, the Shrewsbury Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) July 9 upheld its earlier decision to approve a parking lot plan for a proposed? flea market at Commerce Park, 420 Boston Turnpike (Route 9).
On April 6 the Planning Board had approved a site plan for Worcester resident Danny Ha, who hopes to open a flea market at the site. Ha's proposal is to renovate 103,000 square feet and install 500 booths, which would be manned by 80 to 100 vendors on weekends and holiday weekends.
While the official purpose of the hearing was for the ZBA to review the property owner's plans to change the site parking lot by more than 20 spaces, as they had at previous hearings, abutters to the proposed business voiced their opposition.
The property's owner, Cal Cervini Jr., of 420 Boston Turnpike, LLC, was represented by attorney Richard Ricker, who defended the Planning Board's site plan approval. The abutters were represented by attorney Matthew Watsky, who argued that the site plan was unacceptable under state and local bylaws.
For the July 9 continuance, Planning Board Chair Melvin Gordon, who had been a part of a previous hearing as a ZBA member, was replaced by an alternate board member because Gordon's ZBA appointment had expired June 30.
Both sides debated a number of issues including whether the building was zoned to allow for retail use or just commercial use.
Watsky also noted that the access road connecting the site to Oak Street and the surrounding neighborhood could not be used by the new flea market because the neighborhood is zoned residential.
Abutters to the proposed business also addressed the board.
Michael Gentile, 62 Beverly Hills Dr., said that the first he had heard of the flea market was in a letter he received in December that he said only referenced the site's parking lot changes.
In all, twenty-one comments by Oak Street neighborhood attendees were recorded.
When all comments had been heard, ZBA Chair Ronald Rosen closed the public hearing and reiterated that by law the only matter the ZBA could consider were those issues dealing with the parking lot.
After deliberation, the board concluded that the access road onto Oak Street could continue to be used without further special permit or variance. It then unanimously approved the Planning Board's site plan, list of 24 waivers, and list of conditions.
At a previous meeting, Watsky noted that the abutters also planned on appealing to the town's Conservation Committee and Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act, which is part of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The project must also get approval from the Massachusetts Department of Transportation since access to the business would also be via Route 9.