Northborough Planning Board weighs conditions for Gutierrez project


Northborough Planning Board weighs conditions for Gutierrez project
A rendering of the project in plans filed on Feb. 16 by the Gutierrez Company. (Photo/Town of Northborough)

NORTHBOROUGH – The Planning Board may soon make a decision regarding a proposed 150,900-square-foot distribution center and industrial off Bartlett Street.

During the Planning Board meeting Feb. 21, members discussed potential conditions as well as changes to the plans submitted by the Gutierrez Company.

According to Project Engineer Dave Robinson, the company revised the parking area to add more landscaping, including six trees. Additionally, more trees would be planted along the driveway and the entrance to screen the building from Bartlett Street.

A bike rack was also added, Robinson said.

Environmental site assessment

Throughout the meeting, Planning Board members asked several questions an environmental site assessment conducted by Sanborn Head in 2020.

According to its executive summary, the assessment “revealed no evidence of recognized environmental conditions (RECs) in connection with the site…” with the exception of chlorinated volatile organic compounds (CVOCs) that were found in the groundwater upgradient to the east of the site following multiple subsurface investigations between 1988 and 2018.

CVOCs were detected in 2017 and 2018 at 33 Hayes Memorial Drive in the soil and groundwater, and tricholorethene “was detected at elevated concentrations in indoor air.”

As of the report, the extent of the release in the groundwater hadn’t been completed, though Sanborn Head concluded that this “upgradient release constitutes a REC to the subject Site.”

However, if there were reportable CVOCs found in the groundwater or surface water at this site in the future, it could be addressed under the Massachusetts Contingency Plan by submitting a downgradient property status for the site.

Gutierrez’s attorney, Mark Donahue, argued that there wasn’t reference to the report in the Planning Board’s decision not to approve the project.

Following the decision from Land Court to remand it to the Planning Board, Donahue said the board was to determine whether the snow storage and operations and maintenance plans could be improved.

“That’s what we’ve done,” he said.

Member Amy Poretsky said the report came after the board made its decision.

“I feel as a Planning Board where we are supposed to protect the environmental qualities of the town, do adequate reviews, talk about the environmental quality and community character, it would be remiss of us to ignore an environmental site assessment that came back, even if it was after the decision because it wasn’t brought to our attention until after the decision,” she said.

The Planning Board discussed reaching out to its peer reviewer to review the report and provide feedback on its consideration from the Planning Board or another town board.

Ultimately, the Planning Board continued the hearing until March 7.


Bartlett Street warehouse plans return before Planning Board

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