It appears that a conclusion is finally coming for the ongoing Cornerstone Square entrance sign saga, but that conclusion couldn’t be reached on Monday night.
The Westford Planning Board opted to close the public hearing on the issue of freestanding directory entranceway signs for the new development between I-495, Boston and Littleton Road, which will leave the board to make a decision upon information they’ve received on Monday along with hearings in April, May, and June.
Cornerstone Square attorney Douglas Deschenes continued to urge approval for the three signs, two of which would be on the northern and southern sides of Littleton Road near Eastern Bank with the other along Boston Road near Exit 32.
In particular, he noted that no other development in town had the amount of “unusual circumstances” required in the town’s bylaws for freestanding signs at multi-tenant buildings, ranging from varying topography to the site’s size and restricted sightlines making it impossible to see certain buildings from other parts of the development.
Planning Board member Matt Lewin cited concerns about the signs fitting into the town’s 2009 and Route 110 Master Plans and was worried about the lack of data presented by Deschenes and developer Robert Walker necessitating the marketing need for directory signs at entranceways, saying that other malls in other parts of the state.
At the second point, Walker shot back, again reiterating that the signs met the criteria under town zoning bylaws.
“I don’t care about the rest of the state, I care about the bylaws,” said Walker. “I think we’ve made the point several times as why we need and why we’re entitled to these signs.”
As minutes dragged on into hours, both sides showed signs of frustration.
For Walker and Deschenes, their attempts at compromise with the board on points such as distance from the road, size and design in what is now projected to be $150,000 signs were contrasted with other freestanding sign requests approved for other projects such as McDonald’s and Boch Honda West.
The two repeatedly asked the board how those requests could be approved while theirs wasn’t.
Meanwhile, concerns from the board were still lingering over the amount of light that would come from the signs, whether or not drivers could read the side signs for smaller tenants, whether the signs were actually directory signs or directional signs, and the fact that the approval would set a precedent for other developments in the future.
An attempt at an apparently non-binding conditional permit in a motion made by Dennis Galvin failed 1-4, with Galvin himself voting against his own motion after further debate, leaving only Kevin Borselli voting yes.
While the board was able to unanimously approve signage requests for Burton’s Grill, located adjacent to Exit 32, decisions on permits for the entranceway signs and Market Basket at Cornerstone were postponed until the board’s next meeting on August 6.