NORTHBOROUGH – The trucking terminal at 300 Bartlett Street currently occupied by FedEx Freight is seeking to expand.
The project will go before the Zoning Board of Appeals on May 23.
However, before it went before the ZBA, the project went before the Planning Board on May 2 for a technical review.
Specifically, the owner NBI Northborough LLC is seeking a special permit to extend a non-conforming use and a special permit with site plan approval to expand an existing trucking terminal.
“The purpose of this project is to expand that existing facility,” said project engineer Peter Ellison.
According to NBI Northborough’s application narrative, the existing use of the property was approved by right with a site plan approval and earth removal permit that was issued by the Planning Board in 2011. However, Northborough’s zoning bylaws have changed and now require a special permit for the use of trucking terminals, the application said.
Currently, FedEx occupies a 31,725-square-foot facility, and the applicant is hoping to construct a 12,218-square-foot addition. According to the application, this would add an additional 20 loading docks for a total of 76 docks.
The owner also wants to construct a 10,780-square-foot standalone maintenance shop that would service FedEx’s vehicles.
According to Ellison, a majority of the proposed work would take place within the existing parking lot.
In their Traffic Impact Assessment, TEC, Inc. wrote that the expansion is estimated to generate about 169 vehicle trips during the average weekday, including 11 trips during the morning peak hour on week days and 11 trips during the evening peak hour.
“This Development Impact Assessment was prepared to show that the project will result in negligible impacts to the Town of Northborough,” TEC wrote.
Turning onto Bartlett Street
The project went before the Design Review Committee on April 13. One of the committee’s comments was to direct truck traffic to turn right out of the site.
Since that meeting, the traffic impact assessment was completed. Ellison noted that the existing intersection has signs to direct trucks to the right.
According to Ellison, TEC conducted a turning movement count at the intersection on a Thursday from 7 to 9 a.m. and 4 to 6 p.m. In total, there were 59 trucks exiting the facility during those time periods. Of that 59, six turned left.
“I think the existing signage is working fairly well,” Ellison said. “I think there’s an opportunity for FedEx to internally review with their staff maybe some staff training options to, on top of the signage, direct them to take a right for the truck drivers. But overall, I think the percentage of trucks leaving the site and turning left is extremely low already.”
Chair Kerri Martinek said she has yet to drive through the center of Northborough without seeing a FedEx go through the center.
“I strongly, strongly, strongly would recommend this is a condition [for] not just a sign; it is prohibiting that turn,” she said.
She noted that the Planning Board puts it in all of the board’s conditions.
Her sentiment was echoed by other board members.
“I agree in percentages that’s a low number, but if you live in that neighborhood, that’s six too many for them,” said Bill Pierce.
Ellison said he was “completely in agreement” in restricting trucks turning left, adding that he thought the owner would be OK with a condition. However, he said he didn’t know what the solution would be to keep trucks off Route 20.