Planning Board considers neighbors for Wal-Mart
In 2004 Scott Robertson bought 26 acres of land off of Route 28 and Tobey Road where he wanted to put a car dealership.
When that plan wasn't viable, Robertson, who has owned and operated Robertson's Auto Salvage on Route 28 with his family since 1969, sought another use for the land.
Through a commercial realty group, Robertson in 2009 leased 20 acres to Walmart to build a 157,000-square-foot Super Walmart.
"They didn't want to lose the market they had in East Wareham," Robertson said. "But they needed a superstore with a grocery." According to Walmart's 2010 annual report, 51 percent of its $258 billion in US sales came from its grocery business.
Construction of the Super Walmart is scheduled to begin this spring.
In leasing the land to Walmart, Robertson retained 3.4 acres at the corner of Route 28 and Tobey -- land that came to be known during the Walmart permitting process as "the outer parcel." Now Robertson, through the family's S&H Realty LLC, is proposing construction of two 5,000-square-foot restaurants and a 4,000 square foot retail building between them.
Robertson said he doesn't yet have any tenants but has been in talks with places such as Panera Bread, Buffalo Wild Wings and fast food restaurants. He noted that there are some establishments, such as gas stations and bars, that Walmart won't allow next to one of its stores.
In the first public outing for S&H's plans, the Planning Board Monday asked a lot of questions and requested that S&H return on April 14 with revised plans addressing some of the board's concerns.
Board members and two members of the Zoning Board of Appeals expressed concern about the location of the buildings on the property, the lack of a substantial buffer zone between the buildings and Route 28 and Tobey Road, and alleged conflicts with the already-approved Walmart plans.
ZBA member Michael Martin, saying he was speaking at the public hearing primarily as a private citizen, said the proposal fails to follow zoning regulations on the preservation of trees, has buildings that display their backsides and dumpsters to one of the access roads to Walmart, and shows the new development’s access roads as being over land reserved for “drainage swales” in the approved Walmart plans.
Planning Board Chair George Barrett described the proposed lighting as “probably inappropriate.”
Member John Cronan said of current landscaping plans: It’s “just going to make that corner crummy.”
S&H Real representatives agreed to make changes in their plans on the basis of Monday’s comments.