By Laura Hayes, Senior Community Reporter
SHREWSBURY — The Shrewsbury Planning Board approved plans for a project at the town’s Centech Park North site during their Aug. 19 meeting.
The project’s developer, NorthBridge Partners, plans to build a campus consisting of an office building, a 102,000-square-foot warehouse and a 197,000-square-foot warehouse near the corner of Route 20 and South Street.
There would be an entrance on Route 20, which vehicles will only be able to turn right in and out of, and a car-only entrance on South Street.
During the Aug. 19 meeting, NorthBridge presented small changes to the plans, including signs that would prohibit trucks from using the South Street entrance. They also detailed how the driveway onto Route 20 would be configured to encourage right turns in and out of the site.
One of the Planning Board’s conditions for approving the plan was for NorthBridge to study the noise levels both when the project is built and again after a certificate of occupancy is issued for the two warehouses.
This vote came after the Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen recently voted to send a letter of support for the project during their last meeting.
Selectman Maurice DePalo further voiced his support during the Planning Board’s meeting.
DePalo was a selectman when the town purchased the land in 2002 and spoke to its long term history.
“This land was always proposed to be developed,” he said. “The concept of buying this land was to preserve it as a piece of commercial industrial property because we have limited amounts of that in town.”
He said Shrewsbury has spent time and resources to prepare for the site being developed, including extending water and sewer services and creating a master plan for the site.
DePalo encouraged the Planning Board to allow NorthBridge to proceed with the project.
He also specifically asked that the Planning Board allow the operation “to go 24/7 as other logistics operators do in Shrewsbury now.”
“To limit this project to not be able to operate on the full 24-hour cycle, if they deem it important, is going to place this proposal at an economic disadvantage, at a competitive disadvantage and more than likely result in this not happening,” he said.
The board and developers have been sensitive to neighbors’ concerns, DePalo said. He noted there was a 200 foot no build, no touch zone on the property’s border with Thomas Farm Circle.
As the discussion progressed, Aug. 19, however, several residents who live nearby raised concerns, including about blasting, which the board said was under the scope of the fire department.
“Please, listen to the people who have lived in the neighborhoods,” said neighbor Wendy Bradley, who lives on Thomas Farm Circle. “I really think that the town is overbuilding industrial parks, especially too close to neighborhoods like my own.”
Neighbor David Singer raised concerns about the ability of trucks to turn right onto South Street, ice on South Street as it approaches Route 20, the project’s lack of tenants, hours of operation and the project’s impacts on surrounding streets.
“If this was a court of law, and not a so-to-speak court of bylaw, and to deny this project was equal to a guilty verdict, there has certainly been more than enough evidence presented to this board to find this proposal guilty, and therefore this proposal must be denied,” Singer said.