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Prospects Good For CVS Move From South Quincy to North Braintree

The Committee on Ordinance & Rules looked favorably on the re-zoning request in North Braintree on Tuesday.

Representatives for a proposed CVS in North Braintree presented details on landscaping, lighting, parking, traffic and building design to town councilors on Tuesday night.

Earlier this month, a different re-zoning petition passed through the council, traveling a bumpier road. Neighborhood concerns about that proposal – located at 7-11 Independence Ave. – centered on the unknown.

How contaminated is the site? What type of building will be constructed? Will traffic increase severely?

Call it the Tale of Two Developments.

"With this proposal there is no guessing," said attorney Frank Marinelli, representing the developer for CVS, which is seeking a long-term lease at the former site of South Shore Auto Lines.

"We have been open and available to anyone who wants to see the plans... because it is a good project," Marinelli said.

Members of the Committee on Ordinance & Rules unanimously recommended re-zoning 9,677 square feet of Residence C land to General Business to the full council, which meets next on Nov. 7.

The decision followed neighborhood meetings in August and September and a favorable recommendation from the Planning Board.

A meeting at Hyatt Place laying out the plans for the site, owned by Greg and Michael Shea, was very informative, Committee Chair Sean Powers said. He suggested, jokingly, that Marinelli offer a seminar on development presentations in Braintree.

"I would say this is the proper way to introduce a project to the neighborhood," Powers said.

More details and conditions for the CVS construction will be laid out at future Planning Board meetings, but so far developer Gershman Brown Crowley Inc. has offered a look at a number of components.

The site at 90 Church St. has been home for decades to automobile-related businesses, including South Shore Chrysler for many years, and then South Shore Auto Lines when Chrysler pulled out following the economic collapse in 2008.

The plan is to demolish the buildings on the site, including a home in the currently-zoned Residence C portion that is not conforming to Braintree's zoning laws, Marinelli said.

A reconfigured site, zoned entirely General Business and including smaller and more strategically located curb cuts and a brick veneer, clapboard and gabled 12,900 square foot CVS with a drive-through is "appropriate as a manner of planning policy," Marinelli said.

"It is a better site," he added, than one in which auto sales and auto body repair continue for decades, its non-conforming and non-sanctioned use grandfathered in.

Lighting will be downward facing, with only wall packs after closing at 10 p.m. The drive-through will see "modest" traffic demands and the site will have ample parking for the size of the business, Marinelli said. The developer will also add 400 plantings where there is currently no significant landscaping.

Concerns about traffic from some nearby residents were addressed by traffic engineer Jason Plourde, who said that a CVS would mean a slight uptick in traffic over the current use, but only by what he called a "negligible" amount. One car every three minutes should enter or leave the site, he said.

This re-zoning proposal could receive a final OK from the Town Council as early as November, three months after it was initiated with the town. The Independence Avenue project, on the other hand, took six months to get to the same point, with some meeting cancellations because of councilor attendance issues.

Councilor Leland Dingee said he appreciated the clear presentation of plans and the time built-in for feedback and adjustments.

"It helps you make a decision," he said.

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