The developer proposing construction of a Dollar Tree along Route 151 withdrew applications before the Mashpee Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday, bringing an end to a project which saw pushback from nearby residents.
A crowd of about 25 people applauded in the Waquoit Meeting Room when the board voted unanimously to accept Industria Development Group Inc.’s withdrawal of applications to develop the long-vacant lot adjacent Andy’s Market.
The withdrawal took into account “the number of variances that may be needed to develop the site” and “the unfortunate neighborhood opposition to the project,” stated a letter from Kevin M. Kirrane, the lawyer representing Industria.
In letters, emails, and public comment at hearings, residents opposed to the project objected to the number of variances being sought, the effect of the dollar store on the character of the neighborhood, and raised concerns that the store could increase traffic along Route 151.
Mr. Kirrane stated in the letter to the zoning board, “My clients remain convinced that they would have developed this long-vacant commercial site in a manner that would have been an asset, rather than a detriment, to the Town.”
The proposed 9,975 square foot retail store sought multiple variances, including those for locating parking in front of the building, a natural state buffer, landscaping in the parking area, and use of dry wells.
A variance for relief from a 75-foot setback from a never-constructed but permitted “paper road” on the parcel was also requested.
The zoning board also expressed concern about the additional traffic that the Dollar Tree project could potentially generate. In a July hearing, the board’s chairman said, “I’m really concerned about this project, really for one thing, and it’s for the traffic.”
In hearings, Mr. Kirrane questioned whether the Dollar Tree store would produce more traffic than other types of businesses that might develop the lot.
Residents opposed to the effort organized by going door to door to make their neighbors aware of the proposed Dollar Tree and establishing an email list for “mass communication,” said Jay Bernasconi, a resident who helped lead the opposition.
They handed out fliers and put up a few signs around town which read “Stop traffic congestion. Say no to Dollar Tree.”
In organizing against the Dollar Tree, Mr. Bernasconi said, “people’s sense of identity came to a front.”
“There’s nothing wrong with Dollar Tree itself,” he said, “but put it in a place which makes sense.”
Mr. Bernasconi said that in organizing against the Dollar Tree project he became aware of a “lack of communication between what’s going on in town and people knowing what’s going on.”
He said since working with his neighbors to oppose the Dollar Tree he has asked himself, “How else can the town better connect to its citizens?”
Mr. Bernasconi said he plans to send a “lessons learned” email to the list of those opposed to the Dollar Tree.
One lesson taught by the Dollar Tree experience, he said, is “you’ve got to show in order for your voice to be heard.”