Planning OKs Site Plans for F.W. Webb Distribution Center

The Planning Board has approved the site plan for construction of F.W. Webb’s proposed distribution facility off Pettengill Road.

The development features a 785,000-square-foot building with office space and a warehouse that would operate 24 hours a day, serving as the central distribution for the company’s 86 Northeast showrooms.

In addition to approving the site plan, the Board granted a waiver to a section of the Gateway Business Ordinance requiring the incorporation of Transportation Demand Management techniques in the operation of the proposed facility and that the proposed development meet Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards.

“We do have some traffic with employees and truck trips. But there’s no significant impact to local roads with this, despite the size of the building,” said Jim Petropulos, president of Haynor Swanson. “Most traffic will be headed towards Everett Turnpike.”

Petropulos told the Board at its Wednesday, April 13 meeting that 50 employees will be located at the new distribution facility, but F.W. Webb hopes to eventually increase that number to 200 employees.

Shipping and receiving docks will serve a fleet of about 50 trucks on the property; the trucks will depart from the facility in the early morning hours.

In regard to the waiver from LEED standards, Petropulos said the company manufactures many environmentally friendly products and that although the building won’t be LEED certified, it is “headed in that direction.”

The Board also granted seven waivers to the site plan regulations, notably with regard to landscaping and tree plantings around the property.

Petropulos said 400 trees will be planted throughout the property and a wooded buffer between an abutting neighborhood and the facility will remain untouched.

Finally, the Board granted five Conditional Use Permits – to allow a warehouse use of greater than 250,000 square feet in the Gateway Business District, to allow site lighting fixtures to exceed the maximum mounting height of 25 feet, to provide a reduction in the number of parking spaces from 931 spaces to 302 automobile spaces, to permit an off-premises sign and to allow a permitted use in the Conservation Overlay District (COD).

Petropulos explained the entrance driveway to the site was designed to avoid impacting the buffer to Horsetrail Brook to the south of the property. To compensate for loss of the buffer, the applicant has committed to restore an approximately 23,000-square-foot area previously disturbed by a gravel operation on the site.

Member Mary Soares asked if it would be prudent to reduce the number of parking spaces required for the facility, considering it could be sold to a new business with a greater demand for parking.

“I would rather see less parking; we just have to keep in mind things turn over,” she said.

Petropulos noted the site offers the potential to expand parking in the future. “We could easily add a couple hundred spaces,” he said.

Petropulos said no sound systems would be installed.

Additionally, Petropulos said storm water collection and treatment on the site would improve drainage and reduce the flow of runoff from the site.

Petropulos said studies of other similar F.W. Webb facilities have shown the development will have minimal fiscal impact on the Town. “There is not a large demand for services from Police or Fire, and the facility will bring in about $1 million per year in taxes,” he said.

With construction expected to take about 18 months to complete, F.W. Webb hopes to move into its new distribution center by late December 2017.

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