Commission opens new hearing on industrial building application


PROSPECT — A proposal to build a 40,000-square-foot industrial building on Union City Road is back before the Planning and Zoning Commission.

John Gallagher, who owns Industrial Storage, LLC, is seeking a special permit to construct the industrial building and make site improvements at 99 Union City Road. The plan is to use the site for storage, including for large equipment and vehicles. The 29.69-acre parcel was previously approved for a five-lot industrial subdivision, but those plans fell through.

Last year, Gallagher submitted a similar application. Members of the public and the commission expressed concerns that the sightlines for the proposed driveway at the time weren’t long enough and would pose a safety hazard.

The commission approved the special permit with the stipulation that the state Department of Transportation would rule as to the safety of the driveway. Union City Road, also known as Route 68, is a state road, and the DOT must approve projects on state roads.

That stipulation absconded the commission’s duty to find the application would not create a traffic hazard, according to the commission’s legal counsel, and the commission subsequently rescinded its approval.

After the vote to rescind the approval, Gallagher withdrew the application before the commission could vote to deny it.

The commission opened a new public hearing on the proposal last week.

Roland Desrosiers, a land surveyor and planner working on the project for Industrial Storage, said the plan is largely the same as the one the commission initially approved last year.

After the commission rescinded its approval last year, Desrosiers said Gallagher hired David Spear, a traffic consultant with DLS Traffic Engineering, LLC out of Windsor, and started working on getting the DOT’s approval for the driveway.

Spear said they worked with the DOT to optimize the location of the driveway. He said the driveway was shifted a few feet from its original proposed location, which increased the approaching grade of the road a little and adjusted the sightline requirements.

The DOT subsequently approved an encroachment permit for the driveway, contingent on several factors, including the commission’s approval of the project.

Spear said it’s unusual for the DOT to approve an application before a municipal commission gives its approval, but the DOT made an exception.

“We have an approved driveway that the DOT is happy with,” Spear said.

Desrosiers said moving the driveway increased the sightlines in both directions.

According to the site plan, the sightline looking east from the proposed driveway meets the DOT requirements for passenger cars, single-unit trucks and tractor-trailers for a 45 mph speed limit. The sightline looking west meets the requirements for passenger cars and single-unit trucks but falls short of the required distance for tractor-trailers by 76 feet, according to information on the plan.

Prospect zoning regulations require a minimum of 150 feet sightline from a driveway. The sightlines from the proposed driveway exceed this regulation.

With the DOT approval of the driveway in place, Desrosiers said the hope is the commission will look favorably on the application now.

The commission continued the public hearing.