The Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals has granted Cumberland Farms another extension of the company’s variance for a proposed convenience store/gas station at the Bourne Bridge Rotary. It is the sixth time the ZBA has approved the company’s variance.
The approval of the variance extension was given during the zoning board’s remote Zoom meeting on May 19. The extension, which was initially granted by the ZBA in September 2016, was approved for six months, to November.
The variance allows the company to build the proposed store higher than currently allowed under Town of Bourne zoning regulations. Town zoning limits the height of a building in an area zoned for business to 35 feet.
When the project was first brought before the zoning board in early September 2016 for a variance from that restriction, the size of the store was 40 feet, 6 inches. Two weeks later, the height was decreased to 38 feet, 6 inches, and the zoning board issued an approval for the variance.
Last week’s approval for extension of the variance was not unanimous. Board member Harold Kalick voiced opposition to the request because of the height of the building. Mr. Kalick said he did not think the height was appropriate to have “at the gateway to the Cape.”
The zoning board voted 4 to 1 in favor of granting the extension.
In January 2017, the Bourne Planning Board approved the company’s plan to build a new market and expanded gas station on the southbound side of MacArthur Boulevard just off the Bourne Bridge Rotary.
The project involves razing the interconnected buildings at 6 MacArthur Boulevard, the Old Silver Beach Watersports Surf Shop and the Cumberland Farms convenience store and gas station at 4 MacArthur Boulevard.
Cumberland Farms will then build an 8,140-square-foot convenience store along with 10 canopied gasoline islands holding 20 gas pump stations. As proposed, entrance into the new property will be one way, via a curb cut on MacArthur Boulevard South.
The start of construction has been delayed because the project is tied up in Land Court over a disagreement involving exiting the property. Cumberland Farms proposes allowing customers to exit back into the rotary.
The planning board conditioned its approval of the project on customers only being allowed to exit south on MacArthur Boulevard, not into the rotary. Drivers headed for Route 6, for instance, would have to go a quarter of a mile to a turnaround to go north to reenter the rotary.
Planning board members argued that the new store will attract a substantial amount of business, with a resulting increase in rotary traffic and possible accidents. Cumberland Farms argued that not allowing cars to exit into the rotary will inconvenience customers and jeopardize the company’s ability to do business.
The company has also contended that reentry of cars into the rotary would not have an adverse impact on traffic, which was the conclusion of the Town of Bourne’s own traffic specialist. The dispute over how vehicles exit the property is what is before the Land Court.
Bourne Town Counsel Robert S. Troy said the court has scheduled a status conference for Wednesday, June 16. Mr. Troy also noted that Cumberland Farms has signaled to the Town of Bourne that the company may submit a revised proposal for the project.