Hot Questioning For Cumberland Farms at Community Meeting
Cumberland Farms faced a contentious crowd last week during a set of community meetings at Town Hall.
iBerkshires.com reports the discussions that started at 5:30 went well past the 7 p.m. mark as company representatives were peppered with questions about traffic and the site plan.
The community meeting held Wednesday had been promised by the company after it withdrew an application to construct a gas station/convivence store at 95 Commercial St.
Cumberland Farms proposes to demolish Al's Service Center at 95 Commercial St. and two other structures, all owned by Carol Ostrowski, and build a gas station/convenience store just south of its older location that will be closed.
After a series of public meetings with the Zoning Board of Appeals at which residents and abutters pushed back against building the gas station in the current residential zoned area, Cumberland Farms withdrew the application and put the brakes on the project for the time being.
Wednesday's meeting started at 5:30 and most of the dozens of attendees stayed in the Selectmen's room and after an overview of the project, launched questions at the Cumberland Farms team.
The group asked why that location was selected and residents urged the company to move the project somewhere else along the street.
Reidy said Cumberland Farms has looked at multiple locations, but the chosen location was the most viable.
Early on in the meeting, the discussion turned from questions to statements of rejection and abutter Dave Roberts said he purchased his property with the understanding that the existing service center would be the only commercial use in the residentially zoned area.
There were also complaints about property values dropping and abutters having difficulties selling their homes.
Some abutters simply did not want another gas station while others welcomed the new facility and felt it could be an asset to the community – just not in their backyard.
Resident Jennifer Civello was one of the lone voices in support of the gas station and said although she does not live in the neighborhood believed that new development in town was too important for Adams to pass up.
The meeting then became a little chaotic and residents turned their anger away from Cumberland Farms and on to each other.
Many left the meeting at 7 p.m., however, a few continued the conversation well into the evening. Although no second meeting was scheduled, Cumberland Farms' legal counsel Thomas Reidy said they will continue to communicate with the town and abutters.