Ice Cream/Coffee Shop Proposes an Alternative to Tar For Parking Lot

Much was learned about the difficulties of business start-up and construction by the local couple behind Wicked Good Scoops Coffee and Ice Cream.

Don and Denise Charette came before the planning board at its August 1st meeting for a conceptual discussion regarding changes in their original plan of development.

The 768 square foot minor site plan construction project at 9 Buttrick Road for Wicked Good Scoops, owned by JMMKC Corporation, was granted conditional approval at a planning board meeting in May, 2018. Since then, applicant Don Charette stated that he has met with several board members regarding the paved asphalt parking lot which is part of the original plan that was approved. According to Charette, there is concern about the runoff of the paved surface, specifically, “a change in direction of the runoff into a pond that is on the property.” The fear, said Charette, is coming from members from the heritage and conservation boards who believe that the runoff will pollute Duck Pond. The proposed solution to this is to keep the lot’s existing gravel parking lot just the way it is.

Water pollution was not the Charette’s only concern regarding the asphalt. The couple believes that the paved parking lot will take away from the ice cream shop’s small town charm.

Denise Charette shared with the board, “I think back to when I take my own children to ice cream places. There is something to be said about your tires going over the gravel… We want this shop to be something for families and for the community.”

Charette also mentioned removing the retention pond from the plan of development, as he does not feel it to be necessary if the parking lot will remain paved with permeable gravel. Every board member who spoke on the issue expressed the importance of the retention pond, assistant public works director John Trottier calling it a “good business practice” as it will flush the runoff water before it enters Duck Pond and act as a filtration system.

Trottier also disapproved of the gravel pavement idea. “Our regulations require a hard durable surface which allows for safe pedestrian and vehicular travel. It’ll allow for safe delivery of supplies, delineation of parking spaces, parking aisles, handicap spaces, loading spaces, and assists in maintenance of lot itself.” Trottier later added, “We can’t have willy-nilly parking with no delineated spaces.”

Town planner Colleen Mailloux mentioned the possibility of a fire hazard, stating, “The fire department in particular expressed concerns for the ability of the lot to bear the weight of a fire truck. This is one of the reasons we have regulations for parking lots.”

Other board members were more in favor of the gravel. Town council executive official Jim Butler said he doesn’t see why Charette can’t get a waiver for this change in the plans. “They don’t have a million dollar budget and they’re trying to do something that’s nice. They’re trying to keep it within the characteristics of the town.”

At Butler’s request, Marge Badois, chairperson of the conservation commission, weighed in on the commission’s stance on asphalt paving. According the Marge, conservation is always in favor of reducing impervious surface. “It tends to speed up and increase run off which causes erosion and infiltration in places you don’t want it.”

After all sides were voiced, the general consensus among the board and staff members who spoke was that if Charette would like to keep the gravel parking lot, new plans will have to be drawn up by an engineer in order to ensure runoff and parking lot safety are within town standards.

Charette’s other proposed waiver to defer the planned landscaping to phase two of the project was addressed by town planner Mailloux, who explained that this deferment would not be within town standards, but a bond could be taken out for the landscaping.

“It’s defeating,” said Charette, near the end of the conceptual discussion. “We can’t get anything done.”

If the project does get completed as planned, it will include a deck overlooking the pond and whiffle ball batting cages.

Newsletter Updates

Enter your email address below to subscribe to our newsletter