Northborough Planning Board approves Gutierrez warehouse plans


Northborough Planning Board approves Gutierrez warehouse plans
The Planning Board has approved plans by the Gutierrez Company for this Bartlett Street property. (Photo/Laura Hayes)

NORTHBOROUGH – After originally denying the plans and a Land Court judge remanding the decision, the Planning Board approved plans for a distribution center on Bartlett Street.

The plans returned before the Planning Board on Feb. 7.

The site at 0 and 301 Bartlett Street is about 66 acres. The developer, the Gutierrez Company, was proposing to build a 150,900-square-foot distribution center and industrial warehouse on the site.

Access to the property will be off Bartlett Street.

The public hearing for the project was closed and the decision was made on April 18.

The board and the developer have been discussing conditions of approval for several recent meetings.

“We’ve spent a lot of time together getting to this point of these draft conditions, and the board is owed a lot of credit for all of the effort it’s put in listening of community members in that regard,” said Gutierrez’s attorney Mark Donahue.

He said the conditions contained compromises from both sides.

At the start of the meeting and before the board voted, Donahue said if the Planning Board wanted to continue to examine revisions, “but at some point there needs to be a recognition that this is a balancing to reach some level of consensus that, frankly, I thought we had reached in the effort that [Planning Director Laurie Connors and Town Counsel David Doneski] and I had taken from all of the sessions we had with you, hearing the concerns and trying to come up with something that will work for everyone.”

Chair Kerri Martinek said it was a “good collaboration” on both sides.

“From what I saw in the draft that had some suggestions, I don’t think there are any material changes overall,” Martinek said. “I hope we don’t have any issues. I think it still reflects the intent of what we have been discussing overall.”

During the meeting, the board further discussed the conditions, such as adding language to reference images in the plans.

One of the originally proposed conditions did not allow deliveries, coupling or decoupling of tractor trailers between 10 p.m. and 6 a.m. However, it allowed tractor trailers to park on site in the event they arrived early. It also includes language in which the planning director could authorize an exception or temporary waiver for the time limitation for good cause if notified at least 48 hours ahead.

Connors noted comments about trucks parked on Bartlett Street.

“It was my understanding from our prior conversations that we wanted them to make accommodations for trucks that arrived early,” she said. “When we were doing our discussion, they agreed that they would be willing to do that.”

This would solve concerns regarding trucks parking in properties that aren’t their destination, she said.

While some Planning Board members voiced concerns that the language would open it up to trucks coming at all hours of the night, others felt that this would prevent the trucks from parking on Bartlett or in residential neighborhoods.

Ultimately, the Planning Board unanimously voted to approve the site plans for the project and a groundwater protection overlay special permit.



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