Sound Development LLC, the developer proposing to build a 10,000 square foot Walgreens at the corner of Mill Street and South Main Street, closed its public hearing at the Town Plan and Zoning Commission Tuesday night with the endorsement of the town traffic engineer and residents of New Horizons.
A public hearing with presentations from attorneys, traffic and landscape engineers and soil scientists, was continued from Oct. 22, when zoning commissioners brought many questions regarding traffic as well as handicap accessibility.
Joseph Balskus, a traffic engineer for the applicant reassured the commission that the proposed Walgreens would not clog traffic. On the contrary, Balskus said Walgreens would make modifications to the intersection that were originally proposed by the Unionville Traffic Committee that would improve traffic flow through the area.
“We will make proposed improvements from the advisory committee and we’re not changing the level of service at this intersection,” Balskus said. “That will allow us to mitigate any traffic we’re generating and have a minimal impact.”
Farmington Traffic Engineer Matt Blume confirmed that he had reviewed the proposal and agreed with the findings.
One thing that continued to raise concern was that the developer plans to make South Main Street heading toward the bridge a left-turn only lane and a shared straight/right-turn lane.
Commissioner Don Doeg said he was concerned that cars turning into the plaza with Dunkin Donuts would slow traffic going straight.
“If I’m turning right I may slow down people going through but that’s not such a bad thing. You don’t want to encourage people speeding through there,” Balskus said.
The change is to allow for a dedicated left-turn lane into the Riversedge Plaza, as well as a left-turn lane from the opposing direction onto Mill Street.
Balskus also explained that the company had looked at whether school traffic would cause problems when combined with pharmacy traffic, saying that traffic during peak school times (2-3 p.m.) was significantly less than between 4 and 5 p.m.
Commissioners also asked about handicap accessibility for the building as well as on the sidewalks surrounding the property. The engineer said he would be happy to work with New Horizons residents to discuss specific needs.
New Horizons Tenants Association co-chair Jolene Griffieth said that she and her co-chair had met with project manager Gary Eucalitto and felt that they had been included in the process and their concerns taken to heart.
The pair, who use wheelchairs, said Eucalitto told them they’d be allowed to do a run through of the new store, when built.
Attorney Daniel Kleinman of Levy & Droney said the company would like to have the store be open 24 hours but recognized “that would be within the discretion of the commission."
The public hearing was closed and town staff are continuing to work with the applicant to finalize all the details of the plans. The commission will likely vote on the proposal “next week or in December,” according to Town Planner Jeffrey Ollendorf.