Concerns voiced about South Street entrance of Subaru dealership

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Concerns voiced about South Street entrance of Subaru dealership
Drone photography shows the potential site of a Subaru dealership. (Photo/Tami White)

SHREWSBURY – Residents and Planning Board members voiced concerns about a proposed entrance of a Subaru dealership on South Street. 

The applicant – Boch Shrewsbury – Worcester LLC – is proposing to move the dealership from its current location at 247 Boston Turnpike to the new site located near the intersection of Route 9 and South Street. 

The original set of plans filed with the town over the summer called for entrances to the site off both Route 9 and South Street. In the past, residents and Planning Board members have voiced concerns about the proposed left turn that customers may have to make onto South Street. 

According to engineer Patrick Healy, during the Nov. 28 Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the developers decided to make the South Street entrance only for right turns in and out. During the Dec. 1 Planning Board meeting, Chair Steven Boulay said he “prefers” that there be no entrance onto South Street. 

“That, by far is the biggest lynch pin for me,” Boulay said. 

However, he said if the plans were approved, the developers should make the entrance on South Street smaller to prevent commercial traffic from using it. 

Vice President of Boch Automotive Michael Clemmey said the developers are “all ears” and welcomed the idea of a narrower entrance way onto South Street to prevent commercial traffic. 

“We control every truck that comes onto the site. We want to have a safe intersection for all as well, and we have already created the no-left turn onto South Street,” Clemmey said. 

Resident James Lapomardo, who lives on Brentwood Drive, said he and his neighbors support the project. 

However, he said they do have safety concerns about the intersection. 

“It’s not the volume that we care about, it’s the oppositional traffic flow. In every direction, no matter where you go, you are opposing traffic, even with the right-out, right-in, it is still a dicey proposition,” Lapomardo said. 

He added, “Might it make sense to consider only a right-in from South Street and direct traffic only onto Route 9?” 

Boulay called his proposal a “good point.” 

More details about the plans

The site is approximately 25 acres. However, Subaru’s officials said that only 14 acres would be developed, including a 57,862 square-foot building made up of a showroom, offices, service bays and a reconditioning section.

While presenting the site plans, Healy said that there is “some challenging topography on the site,” about a 50-foot grade difference within the part of the site that would be developed. 

Healy said there would be 600 total parking spaces, with 418 being used for inventory vehicle parking. 

The majority of the parking spaces would be located at the rear and front of the building.  Twenty-six spaces would be added to the side of the building facing Route 9, and “a few” spaces would be added to the side of the building that faces South Street, Healy said.

The parking would be terraced with the highest point being behind the building. Healy said there would be “quite a bit of material” exported from the property in order to create the terraces. 

“I am proud to say this is good for our commercial tax base. This is something that I think is appropriately located,” said Subaru attorney Richard Ricker.

The project will return before the Planning Board again on Jan. 5.

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