Car wash eyed for vacant Route 9 lot in Hadley

  • Hadley Town Hall GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Monday, December 20, 2021

HADLEY — An automatic car wash could be coming to a vacant parcel on Route 9.

“What we’re looking to do is a single-lane automatic car wash,” Jake Modestow, a representative with Stonefield Engineering of Salem, told the Planning Board on Tuesday.

The business would be at 328 Russell St., a site west of the Chipotle restaurant and across the street from a Dunkin’. The undeveloped site was previously part of the former 51-acre Montgomery Rose property where the Home Depot and Aldi stores, and numerous other businesses, are now located.

Modestow said the car wash would have 20 queuing spaces and a stand of vacuums that will be an amenity for customers to use after their vehicles have gone through the building.

Planning Board Chairman James Maksimoski said the car wash is a permitted use in a permitted zone and the board can take up the project once plans are filed. He cautioned that the building be set back far enough from the road so that vehicles don’t deposit water onto the state highway.

The lot for the project was once called Parcel C of the Home Depot development, but was not used because the Conservation Commission objected to driveways crossing a significant number of wetlands, Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said.

The site is one of a number of properties being developed by Alrig USA, based in Detroit.

Meanwhile, the board set a hearing for Jan. 18 at 6:45 p.m. on a 5-megawatt battery storage system that would be located on a nearly 5-acre gravel pit, owned by the Konieczny family, on Breckenridge Road.

Tom Corbett, project manager for Zero-Point Development of Worcester, said he is seeking a special permit and site plan review, under the town’s solar bylaw, for the solar energy system. Corbett explained that the standalone battery storage system absorbs solar energy during the day and discharges at night during peak demand.

The batteries, made of lithium iron phosphate, would take up about a half-acre, and their size is roughly 120 feet by 150 feet, Corbett said.

Board member Michael Sarsynski asked if the batteries to be used are produced in China using slave labor.

“That’s irrelevant to zoning,” Maksimoski said.

Still, Corbett confirmed that the batteries are made in China, but otherwise didn’t know about the manufacturing methods.

But Sarsynski pressed the issue. “Is there any other place you could possibly source these other than Communist China?”

Corbett said it is challenging to find sources of environmentally safe batteries that comply with the renewable energy standards set by the state.

Questions about the battery safety and precautions that will be needed if they are installed will be addressed when the hearing begins.