PITTSFIELD, Mass. — The City Council wants a better solution for the proposed Starbucks curb cut on Route 7.
On Tuesday, the panel continued a request to build the coffee shop and drive-through at 1030 South St.
Councilors were concerned about the entrance and exit being close to the curb cut for Guido’s Fresh Marketplace and the Hilton Garden Inn. After hearing concerns from abutters, they urged the applicant to “be a good neighbor” and reconfigure it.
The popular suggestion was to move the access point south toward Jiffy Lube.
“I’m thankful to all my loyal customers that make the store so popular, especially in the summer but as busy as we are in the market, it’s nothing compared to the perils of the parking and existing oncoming traffic of Route 7,” Mike Mazzeo, owner of Mazzeo’s Seafood in Guido’s, said.
“We often employ people to direct traffic and parking around the holidays to relieve bottlenecks that occur. It can be quite challenging for our customers to make a right onto incoming traffic towards Lenox and even more so to make a left across two speeding lanes towards Pittsfield.”
He said there can be an average of about 1,200 cars entering and exiting per day and the proposal will increase the difficulty tenfold and be a danger on the road.
He said some customers told him that they will think twice about coming to the meat shop if the project is so close to the exit.
Guido’s owner Matt Masiero asked if there has been a consideration to move the curb cut farther away and emphasized that both businesses support the project aside from their concerns with traffic flow.
The proposed site on Route 7 spreads over two lots; the front lot used to house a gas station. The applicants intend to build a 2,700-square-foot coffee shop that maintains the existing curb cuts for entry and exit and has a drive-through with a waiting lane for 21 cars with a bypass lane after the order point.
Civil engineer Timothy Power said it is a “fairly straightforward project.”
“We’ve designed the site to comply with the zoning section for drive-through requirements with the required number of queue spaces, meeting landscape requirements,” he said. “We are adding some stormwater improvements as well to capture and treat stormwater to typical design standards.”
Last month, the Community Development Board approved applicant Jamasan Hotel Management’s site plan but had similar hangups.
The board members communicated that they were concerned about the possibility of vehicular conflict in front of the site and stormwater discharge.
Ward 5 Councilor Patrick Kavey said he spoke to other franchise locations in Western Massachusetts to get an idea of how many people this Starbucks will attract. He suggested centering the curb cut on the property to give more room.
“I think being good neighbors is probably the right way to go,” Councilor at Large Earl Persip III said, adding that he thought it was strange that the applicant didn’t have a backup option prepared.
Power said the suggestion is reasonable and the applicant would be willing to consider it. There was also talk of a right-turn-only lane.
Ward 3 Councilor Kevin Sherman joked that voting against a Starbucks is like voting against Christmas but wants to see an option that is less congested and takes the concerns into account.
City Planner CJ Hoss explained that there was an original conversation about sharing a curb cut with Jiffy Lube but that company was not interested. He added that there were some retailers interested in the property that proposed two curb cuts so they see one as an improvement.
“For what the Community Development Board saw from it and our guidance to them was really the curb cut should move south,” Hoss said. “I think you’re on the right path if you’re going to support this project. That seems to be the best path forward.”
This will be taken up again at the council’s Oct. 25 meeting.