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1999-08-18
Braintree, MA. Home Depot's No-Brainer.

It was a no-brainer for the planners in Braintree. The planning staff for the town of Braintree took 3 pages to explain why they would reject a Home Depot at the intersection of Pearl and Ivory Streets in Braintree, a community south of Boston. Home Depot wants to build a store that is too big for the site, and so must ask for a series of variances that Braintree planners were not willing to support. Neither was the Braintree Planning Board, which voted August 17th. 4-0 to deny Home Depot's request for variances. Home Depot wants the parking requirements slashed by nearly 20% below what the Braintree zoning ordinance calls for. Home Depot wants to reduce the open space on the parcel below the required 25%, and would have to lop nearly 26,000 s.f. off their project to make it fit the open space requirements."The variances, if granted, will allow the introduction of a more intense use on site," the planning staff concluded. "The variances if granted would allow the site to be used at a higher intensity than what would be allowed under the zoning bylaw." Home Depot is taking over a dead Caldor's store, and wants to add an addition to the building at the Pearl St. Plaza. There is already another Home Depot roughly 5 miles away in Quincy, MA (the Home Depot that burned), plus another in Rockland and Avon, MA, both within 10 miles each of the Braintree site. Traffic in this area has long been a sore topic with area residents, and some fear that the new megastore will create even worse gridlock. The South Braintree Board of Trade has sent out a flier to its members opposing the Home Depot project. The flier has a picture of a shark, with the caption: "The sharks are circling again". "If you strongly feel that Braintree does not need any additional traffic volume, and further congestion on our roads, if you do not want additional truck and car traffic passing through your business district preventing your clients from an already less than easy access to your business, please come and support your fellow South Braintree Board of Trade members," the flier said.

What you can do: The Braintree Planning Board's 4-0 slam dunk of Home Depot is only a recommendation. The vote that counts is on August 24 before the Braintree Zoning Board of Appeals. The Planning Board Chairman told the Patriot Ledger newspaper "If they downsize the project, this would not need a variance. They can move in tomorrow." Residents and merchants, however, have vowed to take the fight to the ZBA to try and win a "Honey, I shrunk the store" battle. For further background, contact info@sprawl-busters.com










 
 
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