Autumn in the North Cemetery.

Sixty miles west of Boston, Massachusetts there is the small New England town of Sturbridge. Located at the junction of I-90 (The Mass Pike), and I-84 it has become known as the "Crossroads of New England". The town was first settled over 300 years ago, and like other small New England towns it has grown just enough over the years to be in a difficult place today. How do we embrace the future without forgetting how we got to our present? How do we attract the right kind of growth, and maintain who we are? And, what about our culture out here in Central Massachusetts?

These pages will cause one to think about how to protect what we have, our future direction, and how to move on in the very best way.

Those thoughts, and other ramblings, will hopefully inspire more thought, conversation, action, and occasionally a smile...

...seems to be working so far

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Clueless In Fiskdale

Cumberland Farms is going to build a new store in the same location at the corner of Hinman, and Main Street.

Is the new Cumberland Farms going to sell gas?  Will the pumps be relocated, or will drivers continue to block off Hinman Street while waiting for a place at the pumps?  These aren't rhetorical questions, quite the opposite, I'm totally clueless.  Remember, I checked out for the summer weeks ago.

We've been discussing CVS having to run the gauntlet before the ConComm, I was wondering if Cumberlands had to do the same.

If you have any information, I'd appreciate hearing form you.


  1. You never know...Tuesday, July 30, 2013

    The Cumberland Farms project will involve knocking down the house to the west. They will store more gas than they do now. All else I know is that they've had some odd ball conditions stemming from such things as a deep concern that they may do a planting that might produce a seed that will, with rain, wash across Route 20, go across someone's property, where, of course, a private home owner might plant anything he would like, and then the seed from Cumberlands might make it through the woods, down the banking, and into the river where it might cause a problem.

  2. Wally

    This should be interesting when they go in front of conservation too. We are talking gas, tanks, cement. Wait till they put their two cents in. Cumberland will be pulling their hair out.

  3. Here Comes ConservationTuesday, July 30, 2013

    February 7, 2013

    7:30 p.m. Public Hearing: NOI #300-879 506 & 510 Main Street Cumberland Farms (Continued from 1/17/13 for site visit) for demolition and expansion.

     GC stated he spoke with Phil Nadeau from DEP and the no net loss of the wetlands would apply to this site.

     GC stated he is concerned with the existing 36” culvert discharging to a 24” culvert.

     Paul Duarte stated the old 24” drain line in the grass area in back of the lot is proposed to be removed and replaced the 24” RCP with a HDPE on the same slope.

    EG asked how PD is proposing to replicate the stream that’s proposed to be filled in which is a violation under the WPA and asked what invasive plants are in the stream now.

    PD stated a lot of invasive species were seen when he looked at the stream with the Agent and a representative of Cumberland Farms.

    GC suggested eliminating parking spaces 15-18.

    PD stated the amount of parking spaces are the town’s requirement but he will evaluate the parking spaces.

    DB asked about a maintenance plan for the project.

    Bob Meo (area manager of Cumberland Farms) stated he doesn’t have a maintenance plan and asked what the Commission would like.

    CM asked about snow plowing debris entering the stream and what the square footage of the snow storage area is.

    PD stated the snow storage area will hold 18, 260 cubic feet and the paved parking area is 17,983 square feet.

  4. Here Comes Conservation Page TwoTuesday, July 30, 2013

    Part Two of Conservation

     EG stated his concern with the existing 24” culvert being clogged at the depression.
     PD suggested installing trash racks to prevent debris from entering the culvert.
     DB asked about inspection and maintenance of the trash racks.
     GC inquired about infiltrating the canopy Stormwater.
     PD stated the canopy will have down spouts directing the water to the stormceptor. The canopy water will not be infiltrated. The roof water will be infiltrated.
     GC asked about treatment of stormwater from the parking area.
     PD stated for a 2 year storm the improvement to the impervious surface would be 2% and a 100 year storm; 7.4%.
     PD stated the trailer presently on site for treatment of contaminated groundwater is proposed to be removed because as part of the project the contaminated soils will be removed.
     GC asked about the possibility of off-site mitigation for loss of riverfront.

    PD stated off-site mitigation would be considered

  5. And don't forget these conditions from the Planning Board, which I mentioned in a previous post:
    "... The little white posts between the parking area and the Cumberland Farms store each have a neat little colored reflective stripe to make them more noticeable. The new Cumberlands will no longer be allowed the colored reflective stripe. A condition from the planning board says the little reflective stripes on the white poles will also have to be white. 'Won't show up much during the day, will they? I hope people don't drive or walk into them."

    "The new Cumberlands is also planning to have an outside Red Box for movie rentals. It will be placed as far out of the way as possible and will be required to be "eye-browed" so any little light from it won't be seen from the road. How's that work for attracting business? Oh, yeah, that's right - Cumberlands is owned by a corporation, so who cares? UHG! "

  6. I am 99% sure that Cumberland Farms have seen all the Boards and everything has been approved

  7. Look at the plans the new location for the gas pumps is on them.

  8. It is stuff like the reflective tape and lights on the red box that drives me nuts. Are there not more important things to deal with??? Why is it a bad thing that the red box be seen from the road? Why does it matter if there is reflective tape on poles? Why does it matter if the laundromat has a small neon OPEN sign in their window? Would it not be safer if neon signs and a red box that was easily visible be allowed? Someone looking for a red box might be hopeful to find one and at the last second they catch a glimpse of what may be one, they hit the brakes boom, fender bender. Or during a snow storm someone pulls into Cumby's and they cant see the pole well because it is all white. A lot of time was spent on the sign bylaws this past year. Was it time and resources well spent? I think not. It was done because some people really could use a hobby in my opinion.

  9. Tiny things. Little laws. Micro regulations. When people ares stumped, or without a clue as to how to proceed, the age old strategedy is to throw up a smoke screen of distraction. The smoke screen offers nothing, but gives the illusion of a working body. Hence, the Red Box, White Tape, No Neon in the Windows Move. Trouble is, we all tolerate it, and don't call those that invoke such BS onto the carpet. We bitch, and move on, and those behind the tables high five one another, and ask for a permit to paint a sign the same color as it has always been. We have fallen into an Alice In Wonderland world of long paragraphs for tiny, meaningless actions.

    It is as much our own fault as it is those that invoke the nonsense. I am a bit tired of sitting at this tea party.

  10. Where are the plans posted?

  11. The plans are in the planning office. Also neon signs are not allowed in Sturbridge too many stores have them now. It is nice not to see those flashing lights all over town. There is an app for finding Red box vending machines.

  12. So its true that people need to get a permit to re-paint a sign? If that is the case that is micro management that very few towns could pull off.

  13. Yes, the repainting signs permit thing is true. It is printed right in a zoning issue in the town warrant used at this year's town meeting. The question was also asked at the town meeting just to make sure it was true. How many people listened or actually read all those rules and regulation before voting on them? How many people actually went out and voted? No many. They've given up. How do we wake them up???

    I do not at all agree that any neon signs we have now are a problem at all. Also, I not not want to have to find "an app" to locate Red Box machines. Not everyone has the equipment, or the inclination, or the ability to find "an app."

    While we're at it, there is still no way to see what's playing at the movies when you drive down into the Hobb's Brook development. I never even remember there's a theater there. If there was sign out there listing the movies, I would read it. I'm not talking about a neon sign up on route 20 - just a quiet sign out be the theater, that I could at least read from the parking lot. I don't happen to carry a current newspaper in the car, and shouldn't be required to, just to see what's playing at a theater should I be right there where a sign should be.

    Anonymous, what "flashing signs" are you writing about? In this town? This town where the store windows are so dark during the day that the stores and businesses look like they're all closed? Let's get a little life in this town.

  14. Regarding the repainting of signs, here's the wording in the Town Warrant from the recent Town Meeting, on page 38.

    (f.)..."Repainting, replacement of the sign with the exact same sign design and color scheme, shall not require approval of the Design Review Committee BUT SHALL REQUIRE A PERMIT FROM THE BUILDING INSPECTOR."

    When asked, at that same meeting if this repainting of a sign with the same paint and the exact same design, everything the same, would also require payment of a fee, the Town Planner replied, yes, that now "anything that requires a permit also requires a fee."

  15. Having a Redbox viewable from the street is no different than any other store being visable from the street. LIne of sight from the consumer to the store is imortant in drawing in business, and since none of us use our smart phones while driving, using an app to find it while driving by is not going to happen. Sometimes impulse movie rental just happens, just as impulse any kind of shopping happens when a visual clue is received. But, this is Sturbridge, and I can imagine the boards, and committees that be, may even ask that a store keep their sign off the front of their building, and in a closet out outback revealing it to only those that ask.

  16. LOL!
    If you want to find a store, look in the yellow pages, or stop the next person you see carrying bundles for information.

  17. What is so wrong with trying to make our town the best in appearance it can be? There are towns all over the Cape that do not allow neon signs or flags believe me they are very busy and no one has trouble finding them. They have signs that hang on their store signs that say open or closed they are clearly visible from the street and there is no clutter from all theses flags that are a distraction. Sturbridge is trying to not look like a carnival.

  18. We had company tonight from the Carolina's. They are people who have been very familiar with Sturbridge for many, many years. I mentioned the movie theater and they asked where it is. They were astounded that even though they'd been to Stop and Shop and WalMart twice in 2 days, they had no idea there was a movie theater down there.

    This is not the Cape with an ocean to attract visitors. This town is not in essence a seasonal tourist town staffed by folks who are only here for the summer. This is a smallish town trying to function for it's own people, and what visitors do find their way here.

    We need to function as a complete town not "Pleasantville" or "The Truman Show." We are real and need to get real.

    If you would rather live at the Cape ...

  19. I guess the people from the Carolinas are not very observant.

  20. Someone is not friendlyWednesday, August 07, 2013

    To the Anonymous who wrote,"I guess the people from the Carolinas are not very observant,"

    That statement shows just how much you care about other people.

    The people from the Carolinas were not looking for a movie theater. They know the town and weren't even expecting a movie theater. They were going to other businesses and were probably dodging all the bushes causing hazards at entrances to the parking lots.

    In any case, they never noticed the movie theater, didn't have the pleasure of going to a movie, and didn't buy movie tickets.

    People friendly? Customer friendly? Business friendly? Tax payer friendly?

  21. We cannot vote out the planning board. They are appointed. You have to apply and hope that you will be found more "qualified" than another person who is either up for re-appointment, or just applying like yourself. The reasoning behind appointing or not appointing certain individuals has nothing to do with what you and I think or do, unless the powers that be start listening to us.

    Recently there was a kerfuffle between a member or members of the planning board and a member or members of the board of selectmen. There was a "threat" by a selectman that she likely would not vote to re-appoint. Since then the selectman/selectmen reconsidered and the re-appointment has taken place.

    Some of the reasons used by the BOS for not accepting new people who apply are excuses as thin as being "not opened minded enough," and "that person is already on a committee." I think we could say that about many people who are already on boards and committees. Right?

    As far as I know the chairman of the board of selectmen is also the chairman of the Sturbridge Tourist Commission.

  22. Who you talkin' to?Friday, August 09, 2013

    Regarding the sentiment written by a poster in the article which you have now closed off to comments:
    The statement attributed to Ritchie Cunningham, was not only attributed to the wrong person, but it was also a misquote. It was Fonzy who simply said, "Sit on it."
    I wonder who the blogger intended the message to be for???


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