LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) – About 900 people filled Longmeadow High School for a Special Town Meeting on Tuesday night. 729 of them voted in favor of the zone change for the Longmeadow Shops Expansion; 168 opposed.
The Longmeadow Shops owners now have the first approval needed to expand to the vacant lot next door. Matthew Watkins, the Longmeadow Shops spokesman, said, “In many ways it puts on first base with the Planning Board, and we now sit down with them and dig deeper into our plans.”
The approval vote re-zones the lot from residential to commercial. Back in November, the proposal failed by a very small margin. The day after that meeting, the Town Meeting Moderator asked the Select Board to schedule a re-vote, citing voting irregularities.
Reports suggested that some votes weren’t counted at all, and some votes were counted twice. This time, each resident wrote their vote on a ballot, and dropped them in a box.
Now, the Longmeadow Shops owners will work to fine-tune their plan to move the CVS to a new building, add a drive-thru pharmacy, and improve the parking situation. One person said, “People who have little kids, who can’t get out of the car or have sick kids in the car. I think it’s really a great idea.”
Kevin Lennon, the owner of Shoenique, said, “You know, it’ll also bring some new customers, the life blood of any small businesses, new customers, so the more people we can bring here to a nice shopping experience, the better it’s going to be for everybody.”
Some opponents had expressed concerns about traffic. The Planning Board can address those concerns during design discussions.