Huge warehouse at 555 Hopping Brook Park denied again, appeal expected Holliston denied special permit for 550,000 square foot warehouse on Medway line
By Theresa Knapp
At its meeting on Aug. 31, the Holliston Planning Board voted unanimously to deny the Special Permit application for CRG Integrated Real Estate Solutions to build a 550,000 square foot facility in the 555 Hopping Brook Industrial Park.
This decision comes after a similar proposal was denied in 2021 for a 800,400 square foot warehouse in the same location.
In its 14-page decision, the board cited continued concerns about traffic, lighting, and noise, among other issues.
Town Counsel Jay Talerman said, “There’s a significant concern that the warehouse is being constructed in a way that could support something more than just [ITE use code] 150.”
The written decision reads, “Supporting this concern is the fact that the proposal includes substantially more loading docks than is typical for a general warehousing operation under ITE use code 150. The Town has insufficient resources to effectively monitor whether the use of the project remains under the less intense general warehouse category. If the project evolves into a more intense High Cube or fulfillment center use, the impacts to the Town and the surrounding neighborhood would be substantially greater.”
Talerman added, “There’s no staff member that I’m aware of that’s going to be able to be out there and monitor in real time the activity in the rear of that building.”
In addition to adversely affecting the residents of Holliston, this project would have impacted the abutting Medway neighborhoods of Claybrook Farms, Claybrook II and Broad Acre Estates, at a minimum.
Regarding land disturbance, Planning Board Chairperson Karen Apuzzo-Langton said there has already been “massive earth moving” on the site without proper permitting.
She said, “The building size, although changing [decreased from the original proposal], is still quite significant, much larger than any other building within that industrial park and much larger than any other building in the town…and it is a massive earth moving. We are moving like a mountain to put this building in…That also goes back to character and size and scope when it’s something that’s so much bigger than anything we have in Holliston.”
Talerman said, “We acknowledge that it’s smaller, but it’s still the biggest building in town.”
The board had continued concerns about truck traffic, and had specifically asked the applicant for data related to traffic studies at other intersections in town; the board requested that information “multiple times,” but it was not produced.
Regarding the lighting impact, the applicant did not produce any expert analysis regarding the effects of the project’s illumination and how it would impact abutters.
Talerman said, “I don’t think that they upped their game [from the first application] on that kind of indirect lighting impact.”
The board also unanimously denied the applicant’s Site Plan Review and its Stormwater and Land Disturbance Permit.
At the beginning of the 30-minute discussion, Talerman said, “I think we can almost guarantee that, if this decision is a denial, there’s going to be an appeal; in fact, their counsel’s already said that that would be the case.”
Talerman said the board would know about a possible appeal in September or October.
To watch the board’s deliberations and review all documents, visit www.townofholliston.us/planning-board