ORLEANS — F. W. Webb is making the rounds of town boards seeking approval to tear down buildings at the former Underground Mall on Route 6A near the Brewster line and build a 38,000-square-foot, 30-foot-high combination retail and warehouse facility.
On March 4 at 7 p.m., the zoning board of appeals will review requests for relief from building size and parking requirements. The next day, at 6:30 p.m., the Old King’s Highway Regional Historic District Committee will consider separately requests for a certificate of demolition and a certificate of appropriateness for the new building.
Also on March 4, Webb’s representatives will return to the site plan review committee for its formal sign-off. Highpoint Engineering Project Manager Nichole Dunphy and Green Leaf Construction President D. Andrew McBeth met Feb. 19 with the committee, which is made up of town department heads with permitting responsibilities.
The plans they presented show a building with three sections. Looking at the west-facing facade, a display showroom and office area would be on the left, shelving with materials for contractors in the center, and a storage and material handling area on the right. A mezzanine above the center section would provide additional storage for bulky material.
Traveling east from Brewster on 6A, motorists would turn right on Bakers Pond Road and left on Nell’s Way to approach the front of the building. There are separate entrances for the Frank Webb Home display showroom, which sports a glass wall that wraps around to the building’s north (6A) side, and a contractor entrance. There is clapboard siding on these two sections, while the third, which has three bays for truck deliveries, is covered by metal panels and concrete block.
The 3.64-acre site straddles two zoning districts. It’s mostly in a General Business zone, but a small portion to the south extends into an affordable housing overlay district. That will require a third special permit from the ZBA.
Dunphy said a 12-inch town water main that runs through the property will be relocated to avoid the proposed septic system (the site is outside the area to be sewered in the next few years, which reduced its attraction for those who looked at it for housing). She shared a landscaping plan that included large tree plantings, some of which would serve as a buffer from Route 6A for an outdoor storage area.
Zoning would require 77 spaces for the project, but only 44 are provided, requiring relief from the ZBA. Answering a question from Conservation Administrator John Jannell, Dunphy said the outdoor storage and parking don’t leave much room for interior parking lot landscaping.
“I know you won’t be the only person who picks up on the lack of landscaping around the building,” Director of Planning and Community Development George Meservey told Jannell. “Is there a location in the parking lot where you can locate trees to soften up the whole urban edge of it?” he asked Dunphy.
Location of landscaping led to questions about access and turning ratios for big delivery trucks entering Nell’s Way from Bakers Pond Road. In a memo to the committee, the DPW recommended removing a tree adjacent to the northerly side of Nell’s Way and relocating a utility pole farther north.
Dunphy said a turning study based on a 54-foot trailer truck showed the vehicle’s tires coming into the paved right of way in front of the NAPA store at Nell’s Way, but that was based on an assumption that the road width was 20 feet. Some town staffers believe it may be 24 feet wide; if so, she said, the tires “may just be on the edge of the travel way.” Leaving the site, a truck of that size would have to pass through both lanes of Bakers Pond Road.
Fire Inspector Greg Baker said he would provide a template for testing how his department’s biggest truck would make the turn. He recommended marking the pavement to ensure that outdoor storage doesn’t block fire apparatus, and urged placement of bollards in front of the glass front section to protect customers and employees from out-of-control cars. “It’s an epidemic, I swear,” he said ruefully. “We have about three or four a year.”