Paving halted at Hadley’s new public library

  • The new Hadley Free Public Library. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 15, 2020

HADLEY — Final paving of the entrance and exit for the new Hadley Library’s parking lot is being postponed for at least two weeks after municipal officials determined the lanes being constructed were too narrow to accommodate the town’s firetrucks.

Both the Planning Board and Select Board were informed this week by Building Commissioner Thomas Quinlan Jr. that the width of the access roads, where granite curbing is already in place, were found to be less than the 20 feet necessary.

Plans for widening the lanes, which will have to be approved by both boards and may come with added costs, are expected to be presented later this month.

The measurements on the south side, between the new building and Goodwin Memorial Library, showed the road to be 18 feet wide, and on the north side, next to an arborvitae hedge that forms the border of the property, showed the road was just 16 feet wide, Quinlan said. This forced Quinlan to halt the paving.

Fire Chief Michael Spanknebel said that the road width would not comply with fire regulations in the building code and wouldn’t provide enough turning radius for his department’s trucks.

Quinlan estimates that on the south side the road can get to 20 to 22 feet wide, while on the north side the road can be made to almost 20 feet wide, but there will be costs to reposition the curbing,

In addition, traffic islands in the parking lot between the library and new Hadley Senior Center, which has opened for limited activity and served as the town’s polling place, project out too far. Those islands will also cause issues for firetrucks turning and will be need to be removed.

Select Board member Christian Stanley said the building committee for the library is still working out on how the costs of the changes will be covered.

Even with added pavement, the site still exceeds 20% greenspace and is not expected to require new site plan hearings.

Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said the changes are mostly aesthetic.

“What we have lost here is we’re back to the sea of asphalt that we were trying to avoid by putting some character details in the parking lot,” Dwyer said.

Planning Board member Joseph Zgrodnik said the priority is to ensure fire vehicles can access the site. “Safety trumps everything,” Zgrodnik said.