23 Aug 2014
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Heathcote Corners Retail Site Plan Approved

Starting soon, Heathcote Corners will have a brand new look.

Starting soon, Heathcote Corners will have a brand new look.

The site plan for a new two-story retail building on the corner of Heathcote and Palmer was approved by the Planning Board on March 25, in a follow-up presentation that had been held over from February's meeting.

Doug Brout and Brad Perkins said at the meeting that they made corrections to the plan in response to Nunzio's comments from February, which turned out to be minor technical issues on the blueprints, such as drainage specifications and curb dimensions. 

"It's very important to us to have this one put to bed," said Perkins.

There wasn't much conversation at the meeting, although a few people expressed concerns about the project.  Planning Board member Jeffrey Watiker asked if the site plan, which calls for curb cuts along the Five Corners, would allow enough space for trucks to get in and out of Balducci's.  But Brout assured the Board that it would.

"Right now, truck drivers park wherever they feel like parking," Brout said to the board.  "The existing condition is actually far worse than our proposed plan."

Brout also put forward the possibility of bringing Balducci's in on their site plan, which has been under heavy discussion over the past few months.

"We have been in very amicable and positive conversations with our neighbors [Balducci's]," said Perkins, explaining that they hope to work out a joint site plan soon.  "We're highly optimistic that we're going to come up with a plan together."

The Board's approval of the site plan ensures that progress can proceed, but the ideal situation for Brout and Perkins would be to work together with Balducci's to develop in a way that works for both parties.

"We've made a lot of progress with the joint site plan," Brout told Patch, saying he was pleased with the approval.  "We're going to see if we can push that over the finish line while at the same time continuing with our own business plan."

But some people aren't as magnanimous about the Planning Board's decision.

"We were really hoping for something ," said Millicent Kaufman, Heathcote Five Corners Chair.  "There's also the issue of traffic and pedestrian safety, which is a major concern for us in the neighborhood."

Kaufman also added that people might be hesitant to use the underground parking, as some might not feel it's as safe or reliable as parking above ground.

"We're not adverse to progress," Kaufman said.  "They have the right to build, we were just hoping it'd be a little bit more amenable to the community."

Kaufman also voiced her reservations about the truck situation.

"The truck loading zone right on Heathcote could be horrendous and dangerous," said Kaufman, adding that traffic at the Five Corners is currently "abominable."

Brout and Perkins have been in discussion with potential retail tenants, but nothing is concrete yet.  It remains to be seen who will operate the building or whether the final construction project will happen in tandem with Balducci's, but one thing remains certain: Heathcote Corners will have a new building very soon.

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