Planning Board waives traffic study for Route 6 development

Dec 5, 2017

The Marion Planning Board voted 6-1 to waive the traffic study for a potential new business on Route 6.

Tad Wollenhaupt and Alexander Urquhart currently have an agreement to purchase (but do not own) the property at 111 Wareham St. The property was previously a storage lot for Eden Landscaping and consists of two lots.

Urquhart and Wollenhaupt each plan to own one lot, and to build a 6,000 square-foot Morton-style building on their respective lots. The two buildings will each have several bays intended for businesses such as plumbers and contractors.

Davis Davignon, a representative of Douglas Schneider and Associates, the engineering company handling the project, appeared in front of the Planning Board on Monday night with the results from a peer engineer review.

Davignon, who had requested the traffic study waiver at the Nov. 20 meeting, said that he had gotten the all-clear from the police department and maintained a traffic study is not needed.

Planning Board Chair Eileen Marum disagreed.

“I am going to request a traffic report because the traffic study done by [Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District] is more detailed than the information provided by the police department,” she said. “It’s a high-crash area.”

Davignon countered that the Point Road intersection was 500 feet away from the property’s entrance, and the Hill Street intersection in the opposite direction was almost 400 feet away.

“I don’t see how cars entering or exiting 500 feet away has any bearing,” he said.

However, Marum maintained that a new business meant more cars on the road in that area, and it could prove to be dangerous pulling out onto Route 6 amongst school buses and speeding cars.

“I don’t think it’s asking too much to have a licensed engineer do this study,” she said.

Her fellow Planning Board members did not agree, however.

“I would [grant] the waiver because I think [the study] is spending money, and what are we going to learn? That Route 6 can be busy? It’s a state highway,” board member Andrew Daniel said. “School buses, people texting…it’s not the applicants’ responsibility…As far as people speeding or whatever, that’s a police issue, not a Planning Board issue.”

Board member Steve Kokkins agreed that there is some concern with traffic, but not to an extent that a traffic study is needed.

“I trust our public safety peoples’ evaluations,” he said.

Kokkins also suggested a sign that says “trucks entering” at the crest of the hill so that people traveling westbound into Marion would know to be aware.

Board member Will Saltonstall said he had spent some time scoping the area out, and didn’t find it to be a dangerous area.

“I went out and parked there and pretended to pull out five or six times last week, during the day and night,” he said. “It’s not that difficult an intersection.”

Ultimately, all the Planning Board members voted to waive the traffic study request, except for Marum.