Chicopee residents speak out against proposed truck stop on Burnett Road
CHICOPEE, Mass. (WGGB/WSHM) - A meeting was held Monday night in Chicopee regarding a controversial truck stop proposed for the city.
The Chicopee License Commission held a hearing to evaluate a special permit for fuel storage at the site.
The License Commission voted not to recommend it to the full board, but this truck stop has drawn lots of controversy as many residents in the Burnett Road neighborhood oppose it.
“It’s a nightmare,” said Glenn LaPlante of Chicopee. “It’s a nightmare waiting to happen.”
People in Chicopee are upset over a potential truck stop coming to Burnett Road in a lot next to a similar spot owned by Pride.
“It doesn’t make sense to put a truck stop next to a truck stop,” LaPlante said. “That’s number one, okay. It doesn’t make any sense.”
The stop would consist of gas pumps, a restaurant, and a place for truck drivers to shower. Glenn and Sue Laplante told Western Mass News that one of their main concerns is congestion on Burnett Road.
“When we go out in the morning, you can’t take a left sometimes,” Glenn said. “The traffic’s backed up so far. We’ll take a right, go through Ludlow, and go all the way around Ludlow just to get to Fuller Road because it’s easier and it’s quicker.”
“We’re not against truckers,” Sue added. “Truckers are very important, but we don’t need more trucks on an already heavily congested area that people can’t handle now.”
The LaPlantes shared a video with Western Mass News showing an average morning driving down Burnett Road. He said the problem is much worse with buses on the road during the school year.
The plan has already received preliminary approval from the planning board, and on Monday, the applicant company pilot asked the city’s license commission for a special permit for fuel storage on site, including 4 12,000 gallon above-ground storage tanks.
The LaPlantes are concerned with what this could mean for the surrounding area.
“That could be a hazard,” Glenn said. “What happens if the thing leaks?”
“There’s a nursing home that’s right behind them,” Sue said. “There’s a lot of people. The dump is burning methane constantly, and you’re just going to make matters worse, but having trucks run over there…. They’re going to be running next door, all that pollution they’re going to be putting into the air.”
We checked in with City Councilor Shane Brooks, chair of the Chicopee License Commission. He believes that this truck stop would benefit the city.
“It’s going to create jobs, significant full-time and part-time jobs,” Councilor Brooks told us. “It’s going to create tax revenue that the city needs, helps us keep the residential tax pay low.”
Addressing traffic concerns, he said that he does not think the stop will have a negative impact.
“I don’t anticipate any of the folks who frequent here to go down to Burnett Road,” Councilor Brooks said. “They are literally refueling, getting something to eat very quickly, and they’re going to get back on either I-291 or the Mass. Pike to continue throughout their day.”
The LaPlantes said that they are not going down without a fight.
“There are certain politicians telling people it’s a done deal, there’s nothing you can do about it,” Sue said. “That is not correct. We’re told they still have to vote on it. They still have to vote on the fuel tanks. We’re going to fight ‘til the end!”
The matter will go before the full Chicopee City Council on September 6th.
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