Whiting Farms Road survey results revealed - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Whiting Farms Road survey results revealed

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SPRINGFIELD, MA (WSHM) -

Nineteen acres of land lay vacant in Holyoke and the planning department says they are taking every possible step to develop as soon as they can, but as best as they can.

"They really want to get it right," said Director of Planning and Economic Development Marcos Marrero.

The land on Whiting Farms Road has been available for almost a year now.

"This parcel has gone through iterations of businesses interested in it but there has some level of controversy in the past," Marrero said.

Neighbors do not want a big box store, like a Walmart or a Lowes, two businesses that have shown interest in the property in the past.

"It will directly impact us traffic wise, light wise, pollution wise," said Terri Laramee, who lives near the vacant property, adding that whatever goes in needs to fit with the surrounding homes there now.

"What we are actually looking for is a zone change," she said. "We want to go back to industrial park but if that won't happen, we are looking for a different zone change that would help the neighborhoods that are directly affected by it."

Laramee is asking for a multi-housing or small retail space. She hopes that changing the zoning from its current "general business" zone would block large retail projects.

A survey conducted by the planning department asked residents what they wanted to see on the property. More than one-third responded and their answers will not be looked at further.

"One of the next steps from the data is looking at what are comparable uses based on community preferences (from) those who live in the neighborhood and also who live in other parts of Holyoke," Marrero said.

This item will be picked back up by the ordinance committee on Sept. 9.

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