Ken’s Foods asked the Zoning Board of Appeals to approve a 65 foot high addition to its Southborough building on Turnpike Road.
Chair Leo Bartolini is seeking to use it as an opportunity to address safety problems and disruptions by delivery trucks. But members’ approval, with conditions, seems inevitable despite neighbors’ objections.
Ken’s attorney William Pezzoni argued that the business meets the variance hardship test. Their business growth requires expanding or relocating. Water issues prohibit them from meeting those space needs by simply expanding their footprint. He also pitched that the addition is projected to increase their taxes to the Town by about $63,000/year.
Pezzoni tried to convince neighbors that the project was better than what future owners could bring.
He claimed the business has been good at working with neighbors. Sharing mockups of possible designs, Pezzoni said Ken’s was committed to reducing abutter impact. They would work with the Planning Board under Site Plan Reivew to mask or blend the addition as much as possible.
And he pointed out that another owner could add on up to 45 feet high by right across the entire builiding. Bartolini went further, implying they could get a 4-story use variance from the ZBA.
Still several residents hoped for the board to deny the request.
One Deerfoot Road resident characterized the proposed addition as a monstrosity. Equating it to over 6 residential stories, she said it would be very detrimental to the whole area, not just the few abutters with views:
I don’t want to drive by it every day. . . There’s a reason why we have the zoning code.
She sought to preemptively rebut board sentiment that abutters moved in next to an industrial zone:
This is an enormous variance to what should be enforced zoning code.
Two home owners who would have views of the addition from their yard objected to the visual impact and its effect on their property values. Bartolini countered with a claim that state regulations won’t allow them to consider abutters objections on home values because “they are within commercial areas”.
ZBA members made suggestions about staggering the addition and better designs. Bartolini suggested recommending the owner build up a 35 foot v-shaped dirt banking with 10-12 foot pines at the top, 20 feet across. He claimed that in 5 years they would grow to the height of the building.
Pezzoni addressed residents’ concerns about increased business volume. They worried about increased trucks and noise pollution. He claimed shipping and delivery would be flat, while noise would be reduced.
The attorney explained that storage constraints result in too much back and forth between the plant and Marlborough headquarters. He claimed increased space means increased efficiency will offset increased business.
He said that the sound barrier they installed resolved the 2014 noise complaints. And under the proposed plan, trucks would operate further from residences.
Early on, Bartolini made it clear that he wanted to make conditions about truck operations. He told Pezzoni that drivers were repeatedly leaving tractors in the parking lot where not allowed. He witnessed two trucks backed up on Route 9, unable to enter the lot.
Another issue that the Chair reportedly heard complaints about was trucks driving through nearby neighborhoods. Board members assume drivers trying to make a U- turn at Middle get stuck, then exit onto Middle and use back roads to reverse their direction.
Bartolini said that tractor-trailer drivers are prohibited from making U-Turns on Route 9 at Middle Road. But because there is no sign, police can’t ticket them. That’s something he’s seeking to change. There was some discussion of whether to approve with conditions of the applicant working it out sign issues with the Town or continuing the hearing.
The board agreed with the Chair’s choice to continued the hearing to June 29th at 8:30 pm. Bartolini said he is reaching out to Public Works Director Karen Galligan and hoping to discuss options that night.
After reading this story, it is my opinion that Mr. Bartolini should not be reappointed to the ZBA by the Selectmen. I question whether a developer like Mr. Bartolini can really be impartial. He seems to be more concerned with the developer’s interest than residents.
I hope he is not re-appointed by the Selectmen.
Couldn’t agree more. He has become a real embarrassment to the town. He is consistently condescending, rude and at times downright hostile to the residents (while coddling the developers). The purpose of the zoning code is to protect the town from the developers, not vice versa.
Hey, if those who are fighting the legal growth of a business continue to stand in the way, and Ken’s relocates, how about if the lost tax revenue fall on those who don’t want the disruptions. Makes sense doesn’t it? People pay more for seclusion and quietness so if that’s what the folks want let them pay for it. The second thing is if Kens takes the town to arbitration, they will win, and we will again have lost large sums of money on lawyers.
For all those who love Ken’s Thousand Island and/or Ranch dressing on their salads (who doesnt, am i right?), then i would urge you to support Ken’s Foods/Barrett Warehouse request for zoning approval to expand it facility and operations.
First, its just the type of good responsible business that Southborough should be supporting. Its campus is nice, clean and situated on Rt 9 where such operations should be located. The last thing we need in Southborough is to drive away good commercial enterprises. Tax revenue is nice! can i get an Amen?
Secondly, NIMBY arguments are to be expected but when your ‘BY” backyard is a stone’s throw from Rt 9, what do you expect? Having said that, the home owners within visual sight line of Ken’s campus do have valid concerns, but if proposed design will mitigate “most of the concerns” then lets accept the proposal as progress in the right direction. (remember to balance interests … SB as a good host for businesses and protecting abutting property owners).
Lastly, the concern about local truck traffic through residential neighborhoods cannot be dismissed as simply NIMBY. No sir yee, Bob! Town Zoning Board and DPW Civil Engineers, FIX IT !!!! Some modicum of creativity is now expected so that neighbors who could ever have expected commercial truck traffic down their residential streets dont bear the burden or risk of injury to kids, pets, road quality, etc. C’mon ZB and DPW, shows us what ya got! Anything? BTW, the whole Rt 9 thing is nuts anyway, but thats a state issue. God help the truck driver who misses his/her ONLY turn to get anywhere.
thats it, got to go now and eat my salad with, of course, Ken’s Ranch Dressing on top!
Are use variances even legal? They aren’t in most towns. Somebody should look into that.
Let the cash come in so we can build those 49 sidewalks
I didn’t attend this meeting and this addition doesn’t impact me other than I’ll have to drive by an out of place six story building in my small town, making it look and feel that much less small, therefore impacting all of us. As I didn’t attend, I don’t understand the argument that this passes the hardship test. If more space is what is needed and they themselves argued that there is plenty of room to go up to 45 feet over the entire building, why can’t they get their space that way? They proved their own hardship test false. Obviously the 65 foot plan is just cheaper and more convenient for them and not required to continue their business.
I also agree with Bartolini should go. There is simply no way a local developer should be on the ZBA, it’s crazy, add in his “charming” personality to the mix and it is an embarrassment.
Just for you information the Bartolini you are referring to is not the developer
Which building is this? What’s the address on Turnpike Rd.?
325 Turnpike Road facility. I included that in the post prior to the meeting, but apparently forgot to include it in this one.