Route 346 Corridor Planning Commission Meeting
BERLIN - Builders working on projects on Route 346 in Berlin may soon be subject to new aesthetic requirements intended to transform the industrial and commercial look of the road into something more fit for one of Berlin's main entrances.
Berlin Planning Commission members had a Route 346 corridor plan on their minds at Wednesday's meeting after considering plans for two commercial development projects this week.
Planning Commission Chair Pete Cosby said the Route 346 corridor plan needs to be initiated at a higher level. He went on to say the town most likely needs to enact an ordinance 'aggressively seeking to get this boulevard right.'
The road is a hodgepodge of industrial sites including the now defunct Tyson plant, small businesses, professional buildings, and gas stations.
'We've been talking about it for four years. Maybe it's time to get a little aggressive,' said Cosby.
The plan would govern architectural elements such as brick color, buried utilities, sidewalks and street trees. The Planning Commission habitually asks applicants about building materials, architectural details, landscaping and parking, whether in front or behind the building.
Cosby said one of the projects under consideration currently called Decatur Crossing would probably be the first substantial improvement on the north side of the street.
'We've got major stuff coming in. Let's do it right,' said Cosby. 'It could be very attractive and it's a benefit to everyone.'
The Crossroads office complex prompted a different concern related to Route 346: increased traffic on an already busy road. The existing site entrance lies right between the Your Store convenience store at the corner of Routes 113 and 346 and the Rite Aid pharmacy.
Developer Troy Purnell said that his efforts to work with Rite Aid to build one entrance for both sites, at his expense, were met with a rude negative.
'I'm trying to continue the discussion but it's hard after a letter like that,' said Purnell.
The work would also align the entrance with the Food Lion shopping center entrance, Purnell said.
Former Berlin Planning Commissioner Sandy Coyman, who is Director of Comprehensive Planning for Worcester County, urged the commission not to give up on combining those entrances. He suggested having the council send Rite Aid a letter asking for a face-to-face meeting.'They're not being a good citizen of Berlin and I think somebody needs to lean on them,' Coyman said.