The article in last weeks Community Advocate regarding the “proposed” drive thru ice cream stand does come with legitimate concerns. The success of a twelve month ice cream business is a long shot given our economic and political times. Although, New Englanders have long held the title of top/biggest ice cream consumers the winter freezes our enthusiasm for at least a few months. It is not a question of whether you “would like some ice cream in town or not” nor is it a question of “extinguishing between existing traffic and additional traffic.” It is a question of egress safety and emergence at a traffic signalized intersection on a heavily traveled state road. An “increase of 278 to 390 net new trips” stated in a traffic impact assessment is said to be insignificant but fails to reveal what number would be significant and how this figure would be determined. The Master Plan reference is irrelevant as residents were never asked about specific types of businesses and it completely ignores the issue the Board is being asked to address. For the record Trombettas Farm and Ice Cream Shop did survive for a few years just west of the intersection but featured parking and outdoor seating.
Route 20 is a State administered and maintained road. Has the applicant coordinated with the State Traffic Safety Board and received their input? The Chief of Police has registered concerns and relayed a preliminary “no” to the proposal. The ultimate Zoning Appeals Board decision on this and future permits must be based on more than a mere like or dislike for a product or service. Is this site compatible to the business being proposed? Can it safely be accommodated? Does it meet with our Town’s traffic enforcement authority? Can all State highway safety standards, criteria and regulations be met? What is the Town’s liability if any? Wishful thinking and opinions are not substitutes for professional well thought out decisions.