WESTBOROUGH – Residents of the Villages of Walker Meadow and other abutters voiced concerns about a proposed Hyundai dealership at 180 and 182 Turnpike Road.
The plans were presented during an Aug. 9 Planning Board meeting.
Walker Meadow, which is a 55+ community, contains 50 duplex homes on 49 acres of the Walker Dairy Farm.
A letter written by Board of Trustees Chairperson Wayne Webster was signed by 44 residents and expressed concerns about a number of topics.
“We realize the developer has the right to develop the property. But, having a business of this size as a direct abutter, leaves the homeowners with concerns we believe can be addressed as part of this review process,” Webster wrote in his letter shared with the Community Advocate.
Proposed Hyundai dealership
Automotive Management Services Inc. presented the plans to the Select Board in July.
The two properties combined would create a 9.34-acre site.
The developers are proposing to demolish the existing buildings and construct a 46,843-square-foot building with a two-level parking deck.
There would be a total of 435 parking spaces on the site and two entrances.
The western entrance would be gated and restricted to car carriers, employees and public safety officials. Customers would use the eastern entrance.
According to project engineer Randy Waterman, the Hyundai would operate daily from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. Carriers would deliver cars four times a week between 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.
Throughout the meeting, Planning Board members, town staff and residents asked questions about numerous topics, including how many employees would work at the facility, the location of the buffer between the dealership and homes and the proximity of the dumpster and fueling station to Walker Meadow.
The prospect of deliveries on the weekend also raised concerns.
“Quite frankly, I’m not in favor of having deliveries on the weekends,” said member Hazel Nourse. “I think you’re close enough to a residential area that I think there’s no reason why they cannot be confined to Monday through Friday.”
Initial plans proposed light poles on the top parking deck, though Waterman noted the poles had been moved to the inside of the ramp leading to the deck.
“In our initial work session that we’ve had with the town, we were very concerned about lighting on the upper deck of the second story,” said Town Planner Jim Robbins.
With the proposed building standing over 20 feet tall, Robbins said they discussed not using light poles, but recessed lighting in the walls.
“I think you need to fulfill that promise. I’m going to be very strong on that. I want the lighting recessed into the walls,” Robbins said.
Questions about lighting — including the interior lights on the second level of the structure — were also echoed by Walker Meadow residents.
Project Manager Ashley Pegram said she’s had conversations with a lighting representative, who had concerns that wall lights may be more distracting to the neighbors.
“We’re definitely open to looking into wall lights, but when I mentioned that to him, he said that people would be less happy with those than with some other fixtures that may be shielded,” Pegram said.
She added that they would be LED lights, and they could be dimmed.
Robbins responded that wall lights could be shielded, too, and he asked to hear the reasoning from the representative as to why the wall lights would be more distracting.
Meeting with nearby residents
Moving forward, the developer plans to meet with the Walker Meadow residents along with a member of the Planning Board to discuss what is proposed.
After the meeting, Webster told the Community Advocate that the meeting was interesting.
“The presentation was as thorough as it could be. It’s going to be multiple meetings,” he said.
He praised the Planning Board’s ability to make sure both the applicant and abutters got what they need.
Webster said the meeting will be held at Walker Meadow, and they intended to invite nearby abutters who live on Stagecoach Circle, too.
“We’re looking forward to that, and we think that interactive process will help both of us,” he said.