By Beth David, Editor
The Fairhaven Planning Board approved changes to the site of the former KMart to clear the way for a Tractor Supply store to occupy the space, along with a Big Lots and another, yet unnamed tenant.
The hearing at the 7/25 meeting was continued from 7/11, because the board did not have enough members at that meeting. A special permit requires six positive votes. The changes required a special permit because the new parking lot layout reduces parking by 36 spots and changes the traffic circulation of the parking lot.
The new facility will include an outdoor garden center that will be completely fenced. The plans also call for a change to the front of the building. The bumped out portion where the KMart entrance was will be removed, creating a single flat
Board members had concerns about cars and people being too close to each other in the garden area.
Board members noted that drivers tend to go fast through the parking lot, using as a throughway from Washington Street to Alden Road.
The new layout would naturally slow down traffic, because the passageways would be narrower. Property owner William Goldsmith said he would be willing to put in speed bumps if the board wanted it, but PB chairperson Wayne Hayward said that speed bumps cause damage to vehicles. He suggested speed tables, but in the end the board did not require any additional speed bumps from what was on the plan.
“It won’t be a straight run anymore,” said Project Manager Daniel Mulloy.
He said now it is like an “open highway.” It is a “free for all,” because there is no activity.
He said there will still be room at the back of the building for cars to pass through, even when tractor trailers are unloading.
Mr. Hayward noted that some people had told him that Fairhaven does not need a Tractor Supply store.
“Then why do I have to keep going to Wareham,” asked Mr. Hayward.
Mr. Goldsmith said he has outfitted two other properties for Tractor Supply stores, and the Fairhaven store will be more like Swansea than Wareham.
Plans also call for a landscaping overhaul of the parking lot, with removal of the small pear trees there now and Red Oak replacing them.
The board discussed the possibility of requiring a dumpster enclosure, but decided against it. The board wrangled back and forth on what the bylaw wording meant. In the end they decided that the enclosure was meant to shield the dumpster from public view. Since the dumpster is in the back of the building, it will already be shielded, so the board did not require an enclosure as a condition.
The board approved the proposal with 14 conditions, including that some errors on the plans would be fixed. The board did not want to hold up the project for a few typographical errors, and Mr. Goldsmith said that Tractor Supply wanted to be open in October, an ambitious schedule even with approval on 7/25.
“It’s not good for Fairhaven to have an empty building,” said PB member Rene Fleurent.
There was no public comment on the plan.
In another matter, the board approved a plan for a subdivision on Earle Street which was continued from 6/27, with the entrance on Huttleston Avenue (Route 6). The plan was changed to move the driveway a little farther away from the existing house on Earl Street. The plans have also been downsized from original plans. It will now be one single family house, and the house is a little smaller.
The project still called for waiver for the road standard, curbing, and driveway apron.
The latest plans address all the concerns from the planning department and the department’s consultants, said Bill Roth, Director of Planning and Economic Development.
There was no public comment.
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