Planning Board Welcomes Public Comment Regarding Massive Facility at 555 Hopping Brook Road
Graphic of buildings in Hopping Brook Park, for scale. Current buildings at top, proposed 820,000 square foot building at bottom. Courtesy photo.
Residents were able to ask questions for 90 minutes, town officials and applicant expected to respond at next meeting
By Theresa Knapp
Because their last meeting ran late and did not allow for much public comment, the Holliston Planning Board dedicated the majority of its April 15 meeting to public comments regarding the public hearing regarding 555 Hopping Brook Road where applicant CRG Integrated Real Estate Solutions is proposing a 820,000 square foot building.
The building is proposed to be 820,000 square foot footprint and 52 feet high, with two parking fields (one north with 200 spaces, one south with 200 spaces), 180 truck dock spaces, and 278 trailer parking spots.
Before the discussion began, Planning Board Chairman David Thorn said, “To date, 52 people have spoken. We’ve received 132 letters from people in the town, some of the people have submitted multiple letters.”
Issues raised by Holliston residents and Medway direct abutters during the 90-minute session included, among many:
• Who owns the land and who should the town be dealing with -- CRG, the applicant, or John Delli Priscoli, a [possibly sole] trustee of the owner trust. Did the owner cede to the board the right to deal with CRG as its representative, did it need to? • World Health Organization has listed diesel exhaust as carcinogenic to humans -- how does CRG respond?
• Sound engineer has provided data but is that theoretical or real data taken from a building with these particular specifications?
• What is the length of the left-hand lane headed west on Route 16?
• Traffic on Hopping Brook Road is very relevant as it affects the entrance to the Rails and Trails path.
• Where is the list of Holliston abutters notified at the beginning of this process, please post the list of Holliston and Medway abutters notified.
• Is the applicant allowed to have 24/7 access with no restrictions when that is typically not allowed in town (one current exception for a medical facility)?
• CRG should do a more thorough MEPA study based on current information, specific concerns about wildlife including spotted turtles and four-toed salamanders
• Fire Department: Will Holliston volunteer firefighters be trained to respond to safety issues that might occur in a building of this size? Will neighboring fire departments receive similar training if they are called on for mutual aid?
• Size of the building is much larger than anything in Holliston and a resident has created a graphic to show size comparisons (see photo)
Town Counsel Jason Tallerman of KP Law in Boston said, “We continue to make progress...We received some late information from CRG that we’ll take up at the next meeting that’s pretty important to your consideration.”
The next Planning Board meeting is scheduled for April 29 at which town officials and CRG are expected to respond to the issues raised.
Note, this site was identified in February as a planned Amazon Distribution Center by the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, but CRG said at the April 15 Planning Board meeting that they do not know who the tenant will be.