The new canopy above the gas pumps at the in Hamilton has degraded the viewscape in downtown Hamilton, according to the Hamilton Planning Board.
The board outlined its concerns in a two-page letter to Town Manager Michael Lombardo on March 6.
The letter, signed by six member of the Planning Board after its meeting last week, also raises numerous concerns that allowed the canopy to be changed from a shingled, sloped Colonial-style to a square, more commercial appearance in blue and orange. The .
“Approval of the roof modifications undermines the careful consideration and joint approvals given the previous ZBA’s and Planning Boards of thoughtful design and construction of several major developments in the downtown,” the Planning Board said in its letter.
The board is asking Lombardo and the Board of Selectmen to “conduct a thorough review of the entire record of the ZBA’s actions relative to the approval of the Gulf station’s signage and canopy/roof modifications.”
Lombardo said on Tuesday that he is researching the many issues raised in the letter. Bill Bowler, the chairman of the ZBA, could not be reached for comment on Tuesday.
The Planning Board’s said it was concerned that the changes to the canopy were not mentioned in the agenda for the September and October 2011 ZBA meetings where the sign changes were considered.
The changes to the canopy were a structural change that should have required site plan review, a process that would have “automatically triggered participation by the Planning Board for an advisory opinion on the proposed modifications,” the Planning Board said. That was a “serious procedural error” that “deprived the Planning Board and abutters of the rightful role in the decision making process,” the Planning Board said.
That Planning Board and ZBA have worked together to review downtown development during the past 10 years, the Planning Board said, including the Shoppes at Hamilton Crossing renovations, the canopy at and the construction of , to make sure the design was "architecturally consistent and complementary of each other."
The board recommends that the remedy is to remove the canopy and roof changes at the gas station.