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Changes to Gulf Station Canopy Were Improper, Says Planning Board

The Hamilton Planning Board is concerned about the approval process for changes to the canopy over the gas pumps at a downtown Hamilton gas station - changes its said has negatively impacted the look of downtown.

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.

Bill March 14, 2012 at 01:27 PM
Is this a joke? Ruining the look of the town? Get over yourselves.
Gene March 14, 2012 at 01:58 PM
Agree with Bill
Fred March 14, 2012 at 02:40 PM
Easy to dismiss the work of neighbors and town officials to make the downtown more attractive, but since its a major source of "non-residential" tax revenue we should do everything we can to make it an attractive place to work, shop, and locate new businesses, not turn it into something that looks like it belongs on Rte 1 in Saugus.
Kim March 14, 2012 at 03:01 PM
It's a done deal. The Planning Board cannot go back and say, oops, we don't like it. Give the business owner a break and next time, do your jobs correctly the first time!
Fred March 14, 2012 at 05:06 PM
Kim's right, the job should have done correctly by the ZBA, but it wasn't. It's not the owner's fault, but the ZBA should be held accountable for its error and take the lead in explaining how they will avoid doing the same thing in the future, or say hello Hampton beach in your downtown.
disgust June 15, 2012 at 05:08 AM
i agree...give a biz owners a break...you are not Weston,Wellesly,etc., although that's right...your tax rate "states" you are!! good luck! maybe that's why a dozen homes sold recently......getting out of dodge!

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