Developer pitches new commercial building on Route 9 in Hadley

A proposed barn-like building for US Metal Roofing and Mr Gutter building at 220 Russell St., Hadley, designed by John Kuhn and presented to the Planning Board Tuesday, April 16.

A proposed barn-like building for US Metal Roofing and Mr Gutter building at 220 Russell St., Hadley, designed by John Kuhn and presented to the Planning Board Tuesday, April 16. JOHN KUHN

Renovated buildings at 299 and 301 Russell St., in Hadley, as presented to the Planning Board on Tuesday.

Renovated buildings at 299 and 301 Russell St., in Hadley, as presented to the Planning Board on Tuesday. HADLEY PLANNING BOARD

By SCOTT MERZBACH

Staff Writer

Published: 04-17-2024 12:44 PM

HADLEY — An Amherst developer is proposing to construct a new commercial building on Route 9 that will become the headquarters for a Holyoke metal roofing and gutter company.

At Tuesday’s Planning Board meeting, Thomas Reidy, an attorney at Bacon Wilson, PC in Amherst and representing developer Barry Roberts, showed plans for a 15,248-square-foot building at 220 Russell St., a parcel located behind Hadley Auto Express and between the Wagging Tails Pet Resort to the east and the East Street Commons development to the west.

“Now he’s looking to put US Metal Roofing and Mr. Gutter, call it a headquarters, right here,” Reidy said.

A rendering of the project shows a building with a peaked roof, a cupola and four overhead garage doors, designed by architect John Kuhn. “He wanted to make it look like a barn, obviously, ” Reidy said.

 Inside, there will be on-site fabrication of roofs and gutters that are installed at locations throughout the region, a place to store materials, tools and vehicles, office space and a show room.

The request is for a special permit for business use in the aquifer, with a possible waiver of site plan review since the location is the same one where 31,500 square feet of self-storage buildings were approved for developer Kevin Michelson in 2003, but never built.

Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said full site plan review may not be needed, but he would like to see certification from a site engineer that the new building won’t cause problems for drainage. In addition, there will need to be screening from the nearby homes at East Street Commons, which Reidy assured would be done.

The hearing on the project is set for June 4.

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Roberts also is eyeing another project on the commercial corridor, as he is buying two vacant buildings, at 301 Russell St., formerly TJ’s True Value Rental before that business consolidated in South Hadley two years ago, and 299 Russell St., the former Rocky’s Ace Hardware, which closed in 2016.

“Barry’s got another contract to acquire at the end of the month, and is looking to upgrade the facade,” Reidy said.

The changes would add character to the buildings. but not enlarge them or connect them. Roberts received a waiver from site plan review of the refacing.

“He’s got a tenant for this space that is really excited about relocating to Hadley,” Reidy said.

Planning Board member Joseph Zgrodnik said he has concerns about drainage and Dwyer said one of the two pylon signs would have to be removed when the buildings are occupied to be in compliance with town zoning.

Board Chairman James Maksimoski said while the property is a preexisting, nonconforming use that never went though municipal zoning, he worries about adding any traffic island to the parking lot for the two buildings, and reducing the pavement. “When Rocky’s was busy, there wasn’t an overabundance of parking there,” Maksimoski said.

In other business, the board approved the site plans for a rebuilt Balise Subaru at 315 Russell St., which will transition from Steve Lewis Subaru into a 31,568-square-foot showroom and service area.

The project will feature 80 square feet of signs on the building after a variance was issued by the Zoning Board of Appeals to exceed 64 square feet. The business also got the OK from Fire Chief Mike Spanknebel for a 19-foot wide area on the east side of the building, as long as no snow is put there that might block access for fire engines.

The board unanimously gave site plan approval and business use in the aquifer to the dealership and made the work contingent on necessary approvals from the Conservation Commission. Before a certificate of occupancy is issued, the building will be reviewed for compliance with the approved plans by an independent consultant working on behalf of the Planning Board.

Planners also approved a small building to be installed at the Gardeners Supply Co., 285 Russell St. Eric Tiedeman-Mau, a representative for the business, said that this will only be used by employees as a place to store outdoor cash registers at the end of the day. “It has the kind of look of a garden shed, a dark green color, and no customer access,” Tiedeman-Mau said.

At 458 Russell St., H & R Block tax preparation services is planning to move to a new location at Campus Plaza. Planners advised Tracy Janik of Sign Techniques in Chicopee to return with different plans for replacing the signs at the storefront where Peter’s Nails has been located, with those plans to either reuse an internally illuminated sign on the building, or to install a new sign that would have to be externally illuminated.

The board approved a request from Antonio Pagan to install a fence for a playground behind the garage at 230 Russell St., a home that will be used as Imaginarte House Family Child Care. A small number of young children will be there, receiving bilingual language and arts instruction, with most coming from Northampton and Easthampton, Pagan said.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.