Shrewsbury green lights McGovern’s permits for Route 9 site

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Shrewsbury green lights McGovern’s permits for Route 9 site
Drone photography shows the site currently being eyed by McGovern Auto Group as a new collision and fit-up center in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Ben Domaingue)

SHREWSBURY – Plans for a collision and fit-up center on Route 9 are moving forward after the Shrewsbury Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted to approve a series of permits and variances during a Feb. 28 meeting.

“It has seen better days,” McGovern’s attorney Richard Ricker said of the site, which sits at 420 Boston Turnpike, near Bowlero Shrewsbury.

“The buildings on the site are in really terrible shape,” Ricker continued. “This proposal basically revitalizes this whole site.”

McGovern proposes fit up, collision center

The property was previously purchased purchased by McGovern.

McGovern representatives then went before the selectmen last month, presenting plans for the site and requesting a garage license and approvals for storage parking. The selectmen granted those requests.

More recently, the company was requesting two special permits from the ZBA. One of the permits would give permission to operate a garage and repair shop while the other would allow crews to alter and reconstruct a nonconforming structure.

The site spans 15.4 acres, with two buildings currently standing on it. As part of Mc- Govern’s plans, about half of a larger building will be demolished. That will leave about 112,000 square feet and a 6,500-square-foot mezzanine.

As a collision and fit-up center, McGovern would use this site to fit lights and amenities onto municipal vehicles like police cars and fire vehicles.

The collision center will service McGovern’s dealerships, including the Audi and BMW dealerships in Shrewsbury and the Autobahn USA and McGovern Buick GMC dealerships in Westborough.

“Thank you for improving this site. It really was needed. It’s a vast improvement,” said ZBA Chair Maribeth Lynch.

Shrewsbury green lights McGovern’s permits for Route 9 site
There are two existing buildings currently located at 420 Boston Turnpike in Shrewsbury. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

ZBA members raise questions about Oak Street

Recent plans show two entrances to the site. One splits off Route 9 while the second exits Oak Street.

Pavement will be refurbished and there will ultimately be 461 parking spots.

A “substantial” portion of the lot will be used for parking as vehicles wait to be repaired. Excess vehicles for the Audi and BMW dealerships may also be stored in the lot, Ricker said.

ZBA member Patrick Fullen noted a concern about this layout.

“I’d be afraid that once [it’s] all done over that that would be quite a cut through to Route 9,” he said.

Fullen remarked that Oak Street is “beat to hell.” People don’t use this 420 Boston Turnpike site to cut through to Route 9, though, because it has been in “horrible condition.” Should the pavement be repaired, though, he worried that such behavior might change.

Ricker said that he didn’t recall motorists using this site as a cut-through area, even when its pavement was in better shape.

He added that there is currently a “no trespassing” sign on the site and suggested that there should be signs saying the entrance is only for the property.

McGovern officials noted that, once they add curbing and vehicles to the site, such barriers would make it efficient to cut through the site anyway.

ZBA member Lisa Cossette asked if McGovern had considered limiting turns onto Oak Street.

Ricker responded that it hadn’t.

“Actually that is a very important entrance and exit for this site because of the directional issues that the other entrance presents,” he said.

Though it has ZBA approval, McGovern still needs to bring plans before the Shrewsbury Planning Board and Conservation Commission before beginning actual construction at their site.

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