Hadley planners fear a new café near College Bridge will cause traffic jams on Route 9

Publication date: 9/22/2022 10:58:09 AM
Modified date: 9/22/2022 10:57:31 AM

Hadley — City planners are concerned that a proposed coffee shop near the College Bridge could cause vehicles to back up in eastbound Route 9 lanes, where customers line up in the driving lane.

Planning Board Chairman James Maksimowski said during Tuesday’s public hearing regarding the redevelopment of 13 Russell Street.

The concept for the redevelopment of the former Lakeside Jetty gas station was introduced by Jeff Squire, Director of Berkshire Design Group in Northampton, on behalf of Triangle Properties LLC, also in Northampton.

Plans show a two-story building, with the tenant only identified as “independent coffee,” one entrance from Route 9 to access a driveway that can accommodate 10 to 12 cars, and limited on-site parking, both exit and entrance from Bay Road.

“The proposal is a stand-alone coffee stand,” Square said, noting that the existing 900-square-foot building will be expanded with a second floor for storage.

“The drive-through coffee establishment seemed like one way this property could be reused that would provide one benefit of driving to Hadley and cleaning up the site,” said Squire.

But Maximoxy said he could not support development plans that would likely impede traffic on the state’s highway.

“Bottom line is the way I designed it, I can’t agree with it,” Maximowski said. He suggested that it might be suitable for the project if the developer obtained permission for the plans from the state’s Department of Transport Region 2 office.

Square said the developer would drop one of two existing cuts on Route 9, but not in the far west, because closing that would reduce the property’s value.

Planning board member Mark Dunn said he would prefer to give the developer reductions in the adjacent sidewalk on Bay Road, making this the main entrance and preventing vehicle pile-ups on Route 9.

The hearing will continue at the Board meeting on October 4th.

Taco Bell changes

A representative from Taco Bell will also be returning to this meeting as changes are being planned to the exterior of the restaurant at 348 Russell Street. The board has postponed a decision until then on the new markings and a modified color scheme introduced by Karissa Pankratz.

Changes include more purple on the building, and a new image of the bell that makes it look three-dimensional.

“We’re making the Bell brand ‘new,'” said Pankratz.

Maksimowski said he’s not worried about the color, because the building is not in the city’s historic overlay district. But the planners have reservations about the new artwork to be attached to the side of the building, and set in an existing empty frame, due to the presence of another bell.

“We are going to update the expression board so it already has a mural,” Pankratz said, explaining that the design in shades of purple and blue is a camo print.

“I think it’s like graffiti,” said board member Michael Sarsinski.

The planners also learned from Amped-Up! Electric Rides owner Diane Kirby said she will move her business, which opened at 299 Russell Street last spring, to a vacant storefront inside a Hampshire Mall near Planet Fitness and the JC Penney store.

As part of this step, Kirby will have to go to the Select Board to have her Class 1 license amended, and she will no longer be able to display any of the equipment outdoors.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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