Cumberland Farms approved to replace, expand First Street store


PITTSFIELD >> Cumberland Farms has received necessary permits to demolish its current store at 154 First St. and replace it with a larger building on an expanded lot.

The convenience store chain received this week a special permit from the city council for the fuel station business and a license for replacement of two underground fuel tanks with larger, modern fiberglass tanks.

Earlier, Cumberland Farms secured a variance from the zoning board of appeals for larger curb cuts to the street (25 to 30 feet), approval for new signage, and site plan approval from the community development board.

After a public hearing on Tuesday, councilors voted 10-0, with Councilor Christopher Connell abstaining, to approve the permits.

The plan, according to Attorney F. Sydney Smithers, of Cain, Hibbard & Myers, representing the company and Cumberland Farms officials, calls for purchasing a lot to the rear of the current store, bordering along Adam Street. The former Bland Electric Supply building there and the current Cumberland Farms store will be demolished to create a larger, 26,000-square-foot parcel.

The new 4,736-square-foot convenience store will replace the current 1,900-square-foot store, and will be set further back from First Street. The number of fuel dispensers will increase from four to eight with the new format.

Cumberland Farms won approval to have 19 parking spaces, including eight at the gas pumps, which is below the 32 spaces required for the size of the proposed building in city zoning specifications.

According to Smithers, Cumberland Farms has experience with that level of parking at some of its other stores and believes the number adequate.

Councilors asked about the impacts of noise, fuel and other deliveries, litter and lighting, some of which has been mentioned by residents of the area.

Ward 2 Councilor Kevin Morandi said he has heard concerns about deliveries during the early morning hours and told company representatives, "I hope you'll take under consideration these concerns of neighbors."

Smithers said that is the company's intention. He added that a litter control program that includes additional trash receptacles on the site and regular monitoring of the lot will be implemented.

He said lighting will be aimed so as not to leave the site, but should increase visibility and help provide security for the neighborhood and discourage people from hanging out in the parking lot. The store will continue to operate 24 hours per day, seven days per week.

Upgraded security cameras also will be installed at the new store.

The entire lot subsurface, including the new fuel tanks and the drainage system, will be rebuilt underground, officials said. That will include double-walled fuel tanks to contain any leaks and an electronic monitoring system to detect any.

Smithers has said the drainage system will include a filtration unit to pretreat storm runoff before it enters the city's stormwater system, underground utilities, and a significant expansion of green space around the store will improve it aesthetically and help slow the runoff.

There will be "significantly enhanced landscaping," he said, including a 15 percent increase in non-paved areas that will have lawn sections and small plants.

The site today is mostly paved and has virtually no green space.

Contact Jim Therrien at 413-496-6247.


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