FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

Business Development Opportunities
North Carver Project

Questions: The Project

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What is the North Carver Project? 

Summary – The North Carver Project is a proposed state-of-the-art warehouse facility to be located on 245 acres of property within the 301-acre Green Business District Zone off Montello Street in North Carver.

Details - The North Carver Project comprises approximately 14 former parcels totaling 245 acres located within the 301-acre Green Business Park Zone in the northwest corner of Carver. The site is bounded by the Town of Plympton on the north, the Town of Middleborough on the west, Rt. 44 to the south, and Rt. 58 and Montello St. to the east. The designated “brownfield” site includes the “Whitworth Property,” as well as properties that have historically been used for sand and gravel operations, a former town dump, a stump dump, a septage dump, concrete manufacturing, and other uses.  

In order to allow the most beneficial use of the property, proposed zoning and general bylaws needed to be amended at Town Meeting on April 12, 2022 (https://www.carverrda.info/faqs-vote). When the amendments were approved at Town Meeting, the Town can now consider a redevelopment proposal at the site but approval of the project will require a rigorous state and local review process, independent peer review of the project by professionals chosen by the Town, public hearings and multiple votes by Town Boards.
 
There is currently a preliminary proposal from Hillwood to develop a 1.8M sq. ft. state-of-the-art warehouse and distribution facility consistent with the Urban Renewal Plan and Green Business Park zoning. For more information about Hillwood click HERE.

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What is the Urban Renewal Plan? 


Summary – The Urban Renewal Plan (URP*) was proposed and approved by Town residents beginning in 2015 in order to best develop underutilized commercial properties in Carver.
 
Details - The Town of Carver began the process of creating a Renewal Plan in 2015 to encourage the revitalization of the blighted and distressed area (including the former Route 44 Sand & Gravel operation). The plan was designed to encourage private investment by capitalizing on this strategic location for long-term economic development opportunities.  The Town envisioned the private redevelopment of the area for modern, attractive, and sustainable facilities for warehousing and distribution, light manufacturing and office uses, as well as future commercial and retail development consistent with the current Green Business Park zoning. The North Carver Project is a result of these efforts.
 
*The URP was approved by the Board of Selectmen after a public hearing held on January 5, 2017, and was preceded by multiple public meetings, hearings and other outreach before the Carver Redevelopment Authority and Planning Board.

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What public meetings, hearings or reviews have already happened?

Summary - There have been many public meetings and hearings regarding this project involving the Planning Board, the Redevelopment Authority, Conservation Commission and others– and they continue to this day.
 
Details - There has been an extensive public dialogue concerning this problematic area since initial work on the 2001 Master Plan* over 20 years ago. The CRA began an ongoing series of meetings focusing on this issue in 2015 which included public hearings, joint meetings with the Selectmen, extensive public input and votes approving the redevelopment plan by both the Selectmen and the CRA. It is very important to remember that the passage of these zoning and other amendments does not mean a project is a done deal.  Approval of the amendments will simply allow the developer to propose a project to the Town for review and multiple approvals. Before any project can become a reality, there will be even more extensive public meetings, reviews and hearings as the project must go through a rigorous federal, state and local review process.
 
*The Town’s 2001 Master Plan, “the Town identified the Route 44 Corridor as one of seven priority areas for economic development.  The Plan indicated that the area along Route 44 is a viable site for warehouse wholesale distribution because of its convenient access to the regional highway network.  The Master Plan recommended that the Town establish and adopt an economic development strategy for the Route 44 Corridor targeting commercial properties in the area.”

If approved, who would be the tenant?

Summary - The tenant is not known at this time.
 
Details - The proposed zoning amendments relate only to site use. It is too early in the process for a tenant to declare an interest. The approval of the proposed amendments at the Annual Town Meeting will determine what type of use and structures can be proposed on the site. The developer cannot market the facility to potential tenants until the proposed zoning and other amendments are approved. There is still an extensive local, state and federal review and approval process before any project can move forward to construction.

#General, #Project, #Zoning, #Vote, #Jobs, #Rural

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Was eminent domain used to acquire the property?

Summary - No. Eminent domain was not used to acquire any properties associated with this project.

Details - All parcels that are currently part of the North Carver Project were purchased by the developer at fair market value or above. All previous owner negotiated agreements that were honest, open, and just.

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How will truck traffic be managed on Route 58 through Carver?

Summary – The developer and end user will need to provide a traffic mitigation plan during the Special Permit process. Amending the Zoning Bylaw will not affect the amount of traffic generated by the project.
 
Details – Route 58 is a state highway, and as such cannot be restricted as to travel either by type of vehicle or time of day. It will be incumbent upon the developer/tenant to reach agreements or enforce regulations with their trucking companies regarding travel routes, and those agreements will need to be included in the Special Permit process that will occur before the project is approved. A tenant with its own fleet of vehicles will have more power to enforce directives. Projected traffic data, as developed by the Institute of Traffic Engineers (ITE), show that the impact on traffic will be the same regardless of the height of the structure.

What does the project consist of?

Summary – Two distribution warehouses and associated parking areas.

Details - Two buildings, one at 1.2 million square feet and a second one at 600,000 square feet. A water tower is also proposed to provide water to the facility for fire suppression and for the benefit of the North Carver Water District public infrastructure that serves the Town.  
 
A MEPA (Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act) study determined that the 301 acre site is suitable for 1.8 million square feet of enclosed space, based on many factors including space, environment, traffic, and infrastructure. This proposal (and any other) must be designed to make the most use of the allowable space. The water tower will most likely be town-owned and will draw water from the North Carver Water District. It will provide water not only for the new facility but will tie into the current North Carver water lines and provide improved water pressure and added reliability for Carver customers.

#General, #Project, #Location, #Zoning, #Vote 

Why increase the height to 65 feet? 

Summary: The developer asked to increase the height to take advantage of state-of-the-art distribution technology and allow for state-mandated rooftop solar panels. 

 

Details: State-of-the-art racking technology, which allows for a more, efficient method of retrieving warehoused merchandise, needs an “clear height” (from floor to ceiling) of 40 feet. Above the 40-foot-high racking system would be the supports for the ceiling and roof, and above that all mechanical (HVAC) equipment, as well as solar panels, which are mandated by the Commonwealth. The developer has indicated conceptually the highest point of the structure will likely be approximately 55’.

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Why change the road width? 

Summary: Widening the road will improve traffic conditions and site access.  

 

Details: The current zoning bylaw states that roads need to be 24 feet wide – no more, no less. The developer was asking that the bylaw be changed to indicate that 24 feet in width becomes the minimum width, allowing for widening of the roads at certain points.

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Why raise the height of the parking lot lamps?

Summary: A taller lamp height results in the need for fewer light fixtures, which in turn uses less power. 

 

Details: The current zoning only allows for light poles to be 20 feet high. By raising the light pole height to 40 feet, the developer can reduce the number of site light poles by approximately 300%.

#General, #Project, #Zoning, #Vote, #Enviro 

Will the lights prevent light pollution? 

Summary: Yes. The lighting will include downward-facing fixtures. 

 

Details: The light fixtures will be shielded, downward-facing structures that will prevent light “trespass.”

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Why change the zoning bylaws regarding large-scale solar arrays? 

Summary: The size of the solar array needs to be changed to meet state regulations. 

 

Details: The designation of this parcel as a Green Business District means that certain environmental considerations be met, such as re-using rainwater, energy-efficient lighting, and solar power. The proposed rooftop solar arrays on the two buildings exceed the solar by-law maximums. This by-law will need to be adopted regardless of what project ends up in this space. 

#General, #Project, #Zoning, #Vote, #Enviro, #Water

Why amend the “accessory structure” by-law? 

 

Summary: The new water tank/tower needs to be 125 feet high to ensure there is enough water pressure for fire suppression and for the residents of North Carver currently on town water.  

 

Details: The current by-law allows for a water tower of any height if it is a “municipal structure” (owned by the Town of Carver.) Since ownership of the water tower has not been decided yet, the developer wants to ensure there is language that allows the full height in case the Town of Carver does not take ownership.

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How will traffic be impacted? 

Summary: Due to the nature of the proposed use, and the size of the structure, there will be an incremental increase in traffic in the vicinity of the facility. 

 

Details: Traffic volume will increase when the facility opens. Planned improvements have the potential to not only mitigate facility traffic but improve some existing conditions. Carver was given a $3.2 million dollar grant from the Commonwealth’s MassWorks program to re-align Montello Street to avoid the current Dunkin’ Donuts/Aubuchon/Nouria intersection. That work is ongoing. Future plans include a re-working of the entire Route 44/Route 58 intersection.  The proposed site location for the intended use is ideal, as it is in close proximity to the interstate highway system and will have less of an impact on the Town and State roadway system within the municipality. 

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What’s going to happen with the already congested intersection of 44 and 58? 

Summary: This area of roadway will undergo significant improvement that will not only mitigate the impact of traffic from the project, but also improve driving conditions for citizens of (and visitors to) the Town of Carver. 

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Can access to Route 58 and/or any other local streets be limited? 

Summary: The Town and the Carver Redevelopment Authority are working with Hillwood to minimize the traffic on Route 58 and local streets, especially at night. 

 

Details: Because of the size of this project, the Carver Planning Board will need to issue a special permit. One of the conditions of the permit may be to mandate that the tenant direct all truck traffic to Route 44 eastbound and westbound. This could be monitored with the use of GPS trackers in the trucks. 

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Why is the designation "urban" continually associated with this project, as in "Urban Renewal Plan"?

Summary – The Massachusetts Legislature established an Urban Renewal Program to help communities redevelop blighted areas for residential or commercial development. The North Carver Project is situated upon a former abandoned “brownfield” site, which qualified it as blighted. The word urban in this case does not relate to community, but to the state program under which the project is being developed.

 

Details – The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is responsible for administration of the Urban Renewal Program. Communities must prepare an Urban Development Plan in order to have the property(s) qualify as blighted, substandard or decadent, which Carver has done successfully for the North Carver Project site. While originally intended to help inner cities, the program was expanded to include any areas in any communities that met the criteria stated above. The word “urban” in the program name is no longer accurate for the scope of what the Urban Renewal Program does now.

View all 2022 Annual Town related articles at https://www.carverrda.info/faqs-vote

* These answers are provided by the Carver ReDevelopment Authority as of 5/22/22