MONSON — A tornado-ravaged property on Main Street will remain unchanged for now.
A request for two special permits to build a 9,100 square-foot retail building at 96 Main St. has been withdrawn “without prejudice” and the developer has no other special permit applications before the town, according to Town Planner Daniel Laroche.
While the Connecticut-based developer never identified a tenant, Angela Petkovic, a spokesperson for Dollar General Corp., had confirmed the discount retain chain was eyeing the Monson site.
Development of the site has generated some public outcry in the community, including a public protest and petition via Change.org urging the Planning Board to deny the developer’s application after the June 16 hearing. The petition garnered more than 1,400 signatures.
In addition to the facility, the applicant’s proposal for the former Monson Academy buildings included making site improvements, such as a new paved driveway and parking area, pedestrian sidewalks, stormwater management, site utilities and landscaping. The property is owned by Daniel Levesque and the applicant is Garrett Homes, under the care of Meriden, Connecticut-based BL Companies Inc.
Although the site is located in Monson’s Central Commercial District, which allows retail by-right in that district, a proposal for development requires a site plan review.
Following a more than two-hour meeting on the matter on Tuesday, Oct. 20, the board voted down the site plan. Board member Paul Hatch made the motion to deny the applicant on several grounds, including “a lack of trash containment and the truck entry for delivery of products and the loading platform location.”
Because the property is located along Chicopee Brook, creating development on the site requires special permits pertaining to stormwater. A special permit is required for activity within the water supply protection district. This district is an overlay district and approval is required because Monson’s bylaws state that any use which will render impervious more than 15 percent or 2,500 square feet requires a permit. Since the water quality bylaws are very technical, the town hired Tighe & Bond to review the proposal.
Craig Sweitzer, chair of the Planning Board, further noted that there were about seven areas of concern raised following Tighe & Bond’s review that should be addressed prior to granting approval for the special permit. The areas include identifying erosion control steps and test boring.
Initially, Matthew Bruton, project manager for BL Companies Inc., who has been speaking on behalf of the applicant, requested a continuation of the public hearing for the stormwater special permits to Tuesday, Nov. 17 and then to Tuesday, Dec. 15. But at the Dec. 15 meeting, Sweitzer announced that the applicant had withdrawn its application.
“With the recent denial of the site plan application, the pending special permit is irrelevant until the site plan can be modified to address the concerns of the Planning Board,” Sweitzer read from the letter provided by the applicant at the meeting.
Although this means that there are no special permit applications pending, the applicant may reapply for special permits at a later date.