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Town Awaits Ocean State Job Lot Proposal

No completed building permit has been submitted by the company.

The Community Planning Commission will most likely not be able to rule on the for at least a month.

Agendas for town meetings are published in the North Reading Transcript 14 days prior to the meeting because of the public meeting requirements. The town clerk must receive news of the meeting agenda some time before that to file it.

“Almost a month, by the time we get it in the newspaper,” said Heidi Griffin, the community planning administrator, about the process. “That’s even to say if they applied tomorrow.” 

Some residents who oppose the measure spoke out earlier this month and planned to attend and voice their opinions at the CPC meeting on Tuesday. The Ocean State Job Lot building wasn’t on the docket for the night, however, and no one showed up to speak.

The move of the bargain-retail chain to the approximately 70,000 square feet of retail space vacated by Stop & Shop at 97 Main St., could include dividing up the location into three stores and not just one. The modification of the building is the reason Ocean State Job Lot needs clearance through the CPC.

As of now, Ocean State Job Lot plans to occupy about 40,000 of the 70,000 available square feet of retail space at the location, and two additional stores will be divided into approximately 20,000 and 10,000 square foot stores, according to Selectman Michael Prisco. Originally, Ocean State Job Lot had hoped to occupy the entire space, said Prisco.

“That was [Stop & Shop's] desire, was to have one, but in the state of the economy they really don’t have a lot of companies jumping up and down to take 70,000 square feet of retail space,” he said.

Prisco mentioned that, to his knowledge, Stop & Shop, which still owns the building at 97 Main, had been in talks with companies to lease the remaining retail space, but that nothing concrete had come of it as of yet.

Griffin said that even now, the potential for Ocean State Job Lot to take only 40,000 square feet of the retail space is still up in the air.

“That’s a possibility, but I’m not sure they’ll go that way,” she said.

Currently, Ocean State Job Lot has only submitted an application to the town, which the CPC wasn’t able to accept.

The previous application was rejected, said CPC Vice Chairman Warren Pearce, not for problems with the proposed building, but because the application had inadequate information.

“We didn’t accept it because it was incomplete,” he said. “(We) said, 'hey, take it back, finish it, and send it in.' And they haven’t done it.”

CPC Chairman Chris Hayden wanted to remind residents that Ocean State hadn’t been voted down by the commission.

“It wasn’t denied,” said Hayden, “They didn’t tell us what they were doing.” Hayden also said that Ocean State Job Lot could resubmit the application for a building permit at any time, if it so desires.

Prisco said that Heidi Griffin has been working with Ocean State Job Lot to supply the information that was originally missing.

Prisco added that he was “amazed” at the response from the community, especially the misconception that the Board of Selectmen had the ability to veto Ocean State’s ability to set up shop in town.

“We have no authority to do that,” he said.

As long as the company adheres to the town’s bylaws, and restrictions from the CPC and the Zoning Board, the development will go through. Prisco said it was important for residents to get involved with issues that affected them, especially for the education it brought about town government.

“I think it’s important that the people in town, especially the ones that are concerned, attend every one of these meetings,” he said. “That's the process. That’s why we have hearings, so that people can come, listen, learn,” he added.

Continue to follow the CPC’s agenda and Patch’s events board for news of when Ocean State Job Lot is listed on the commission’s agenda.

Michael Prisco May 13, 2011 at 09:54 AM
Looks like S&S heard Patch readers voices. S&S has decide to desolve their lease agreement with OSJL. Your voice mattered and I give great credit to S&S for listening. I hope folks will shop at S&S more now than ever. NR needs a store like S&S to be successful. Many small business rely on the traffic S&S brings to that side of town.
Joe Veno May 13, 2011 at 10:59 PM
Michael is that definate the deal is not going through?
Michael Prisco May 13, 2011 at 11:55 PM
Based on the information BOS, CPC, and ZBA received; I believe it's definitely not going through.
Joe Veno May 14, 2011 at 12:02 AM
So, Just to be clear, it may not be true that S&S has desolved their lease agreement as you stated.
Jessie M. May 16, 2011 at 03:55 AM
Please get a grip and stop with all your passe, "Old North Reading" style views... As Bob Dylan so eloquently sings, "The times are a-changin"-so is this town! And, stop painting the picture that the opposers are well-to-do, do good-ers, non-senior citizen, non-lifelong North Reading residents. You are constantly beating a dead horse with your pontifications. Your back handed remarks about Starbucks and the people in favor of similar retailers are so hypocritical as you defend OJSL... And for those majority of citizens that you believe support the OJSL move, the recent election results should have corrected your mis guided views already.
Joe Veno May 16, 2011 at 10:53 AM
It is really to bad some people have to hide behind a phoney name because they don't have the guts to let people know who they are. At least I put my name out there for all to see. We will see who is beating a dead horse when OSJL opens.
Les Masterson (Editor) May 16, 2011 at 10:59 AM
"A Beautiful Mind," please stop using an alias, per Patch policy.
janet nicosia May 16, 2011 at 11:36 AM
I just went to Ocean State in Danvers and got some great deals. I guess I am the kind of person some people in North Reading would like to keep out. Too late! I hope S&S is not bending to a vocal minority. Most people I've talked to either don't care, or wouldn't mind the bargains closer to home. It's a free market economy, and if people like me travel to Ocean State in Danvers, maybe others would travel to North Reading, bringing money to local restaurants and stores on their trip. Ocean State is a destination store and would bring in outside dollars. Not to mention giving our kids another place to work.
Joe Veno May 16, 2011 at 11:44 AM
Janet you are so correct. Please contact S&S and let them know your feelings. It is important that S&S hears from both sides and not just the vocal minority as you stated. FYI do not believe all the posts you read here S&S has NOT recinded the deal as Michael said.
Jessie M. May 16, 2011 at 03:46 PM
Why must you know my name? I am a citizen of North Reading with opinions. Whether you agree with them or not has nothing to do with my broadcasting my identity on the internet. You put your name out there because you are arroganty and cocky as is evidenced by your insulting remarks. To know my name, does not change what I say. Please stop being a bully. Those tactics may have worked in the old North Reading days but a new breed of citizens has emerged andwe a re informed, educated, and unafraid to speak up for what we believe.
Les Masterson (Editor) May 16, 2011 at 03:51 PM
Hi Jessie: I think Joe was referring to another commenter whose comments have since been removed. Thanks.
Joe Veno May 16, 2011 at 04:19 PM
Jessie M, My comments were not aimed at you. Les is correct.
John T May 17, 2011 at 03:34 PM
I took the liberty of emailing the Hannaford's company about the predicament. I encourage others interested in other supermarkets to contact them. Here's the link for Hannaford's Customer Service feedback form. http://www.hannaford.com/content.jsp?pageName=CustomerService&leftNavArea=AboutLeftNav
Joe Veno May 17, 2011 at 03:52 PM
Why would you email Hannaford's ?
John T May 17, 2011 at 04:20 PM
In general, I want to encourage stores and business to come to North Reading. I am also a fan of competition. In this case, I'm don't like how S&S has attempted to monopolize our town by being the only supermarket, so I let Hannaford's know that they have a great opportunity here. I think their old location is perfect for a supermarket, and while S&S will probably never lease it to a competitor, there are other places in town that Hannaford's could locate.
Joe Veno May 17, 2011 at 10:37 PM
John you need to read all the posts on this issue. S&S owns the property that OSJL is going into. They would never lease it to another supermarket.
John T May 17, 2011 at 11:12 PM
Exactly, Joe, which is why -- in my comment above yours -- I say: "while S&S will probably never lease it to a competitor, there are other places in town that Hannaford's could locate."
Joe Veno May 17, 2011 at 11:29 PM
I can't think of any place that they could go that would be large enough that is vacant right now.Where would you suggest they could go? I agree with you but where could they go?
Beth Connors May 18, 2011 at 12:06 PM
I agree with Michael. When Shaws left, the other stores suffered. Please shop that plaza. Has anyone been to the Wayside Commons in Burlington? The Stop and Shop Plaza could mimic that area. I envision a smaller, but similar group of smaller stores with perhaps a larger store as anchor with grass, flowers, gazebo with seats for relazing. We could use this as the downtown area we do not have! What do you all think?
John T May 18, 2011 at 05:09 PM
Agreed... right next to Walmart would be great. (Well, in my mind, the old S&S site is perfect, but alas...). I was looking through the town property maps online: http://www.northreadingma.gov/Pages/NReadingMA_GIS/propertymaps/index The old S&S lot is ~13 acres. I learned that the post office sorting facility actually owns the bulk of the land next to Walmart. It's huge -- 58 acres! I'm sure some of that is wetland and some of it is for the power lines. But, this is a huge facility! It got me thinking: 1. Its location is in the middle of what *could be* high value commercial property for stores and shopping centers 2. As near as I can tell, they do not pay property taxes because they are exempt (government). I don't know if there's ever a chance to move the post office facility. They don't have any public services at that facility -- it's entirely for sorting mail -- so it is really too bad that it is located in a prime section of real estate. I would love to see if the land could be used instead for shopping, restaurants, etc. Perhaps a walkable location or something. The problem with Route 28 is many "little" parcels of land with empty store fronts with good businesses sprinkled in between. I wish we could regroup them to make contiguous parcels for newer development. I do like our "small town" feel -- I just think we need better use of our existing space: more restaurants, businesses, etc!
Beth Connors May 18, 2011 at 07:22 PM
I still believe that we are missing the "Downtown" feel of one location, walking from shop to shop, cafes, outdoor seating, etc. It is not about another mall.
Fred Chalmers May 18, 2011 at 10:44 PM
FWIW, according to the asst. mgr. at OSJL/Danvers this afternoon, the NR deal has been postponed to mid-summer, and perhaps as late as November. He wasn't sure of the reason, but a co-worker mentioned something about their focus on an opening at another site.
Joe Veno May 19, 2011 at 01:16 AM
I do not think that is true....
Fred Chalmers May 19, 2011 at 01:24 AM
Well, maybe you can get the scoop next time you're there. The line behind me was too long for me to press the issue.
Joe Veno May 19, 2011 at 01:50 AM
I will check. I have met with and spoken several times to someone who is helping to put this deal together.
Mel Webster May 19, 2011 at 05:00 PM
Good news. Hopefully it will be postponed forever.

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