The proposed Route 9W Dollar General is making its way to Milton — the Town of Marlborough Planning Board approved the applicant’s paperwork and sketches at its Jan. 19 meeting and slated a public hearing for Feb. 16.
The discount chain store submitted plentiful information that the board had requested at its December meeting: a revised stormwater pollution plan, a traffic study that will be forwarded to the state Department of Transportation and an amended lot line adjustment map. Additionally, the applicant notified the board that, per their request, sidewalk construction along the entire front of the property and three spaced out bicycle racks had been added to the plans.
The applicant also provided confirmation from a state registered architect that a fire sprinkler system is not required at the site.
“It is the intent of the applicant to not go forward with a sprinkler system as they don’t meet the thresholds,” Caryn Mlodzianowski of Bohler Engineering, stated at the meeting. “From a life safety standpoint, there’s not a concern that’s there... We understand the applicant and tenant would be taking that risk of any product loss should there be a fire, but that was analyzed in detail.”
The Dollar General team argued that in the case of a fire, patrons and staff would easily escape the one-story building before injury could occur. John Capello, a representative from Jacobowitz and Gubitz LLC, argued that the chances of the sprinkler system being set off accidentally and ruining product are higher than a fire starting on the premises.
“People have told me there’s more of a risk for property damage from faults — somebody’s making popcorn in a microwave, etcetera, and sets off a sprinkler system and you have more damage and more property insurance claims from the sprinkler system than you do from fires,” Capello said.
The potential to include a fire sprinkler system was prompted by board member concerns raised at its December meeting. Board member Robert Troncillito had expressed disappointment that fire safety precautions such as sprinklers weren’t included in the town code unless a building reached specific metrics.
At the Jan. 19 meeting, member James Garofalo suggested that the applicant conduct a cost-assessment analysis by estimating the cost to implement the sprinkler system and what the store would save in insurance costs because it would “make [him]self feel more comfortable.” He said that the Dollar General team could consult with other store locations for cost records, as well as potential fire violations for similar buildings.
Kenneth Fioretti of HSC Milton LLC, the Dollar General applicant, hopped on the call just once to demonstrate his frustration at Garfolo’s suggestion, especially after the team looked further into the sprinklers at the board’s request while knowing the installation was now required by law. The additional sidewalk construction and bicycle racks are not mandated by code either, but were included in the board’s suggestion.
“We will comply with the ordinance and codes, but to ask us to do in depth analysis to basically design a system — not just to build it but to come up with the cost for it — I think is excessive,” Fioretti said. “ We’re here to work with you and to provide things that are required, that are economically feasible, but to go through an in depth analysis for something the code doesn’t even require, I think you’re asking over and above what we are able and willing to provide.”
Ultimately board Chairperson Chris Brand agreed with the applicant that the board had to let go of the sprinkler issue. With attorney Pat Hines’ approval, the board voted in favor of moving the Dollar General application along. The traffic study, which found that an average of 15 vehicles travel in and out of the area per hour, will be forwarded to the DOT for evaluation.
The public hearing was scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 16, a day later than the board’s usual Monday schedule in observance of Presidents’ Day. Members of the public are encouraged to join and share their thoughts and concerns on the proposed Route 9W Dollar General.
In other board business, the planning board unanimously approved two subdivisions in their final stages: the first at 36 Green Tree Lane in Milton and the second on Lattintown Road in Marlboro.