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Quincy

Quincy City Council delays vote on C-Mart

Quincy city councilors are expected to vote in late April on whether to allow an Asian supermarket in North Quincy, after they have gathered more information on traffic.

At a meeting Monday night, the discussion focused on traffic, which Councilor Joseph Finn referred to as a “key issue.” Traffic has been a major point of contention since the first proposal for a C-Mart store, which the council rejected in 2009 due to traffic concerns.

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This time, after a Land Court judge remanded the issue back to the City Council, the review of expected traffic at the C-Mart must be compared with other developments allowed under current zoning, not with existing conditions.

“As this comes back before us, the settlement defines certain parameters being imposed on us on how to consider the evidence,” Finn said.

According to attorney Edward Fleming, representing C-Mart owner Miao Kun “Michael” Fang, other uses such as a mixed-use office space, movie theater, medical building, garden center, and restaurant would generate more trips.

None of those proposals would require City Council approval, due to size and zoning, and thus any traffic remedies being proposed would not be required, Fleming said.

Fleming also referred to the Shaw’s development, now a Hannaford Supermarket situated next to the proposed C-Mart site on Hayward Street.

According to Fleming, traffic engineers predicted a turnout for the Shaw’s that was much higher than what occurred. Thus, any estimated traffic numbers should be lessened considerably.

But the city’s traffic engineer, John Gillon, was skeptical that the site could handle another grocery store.

“My assessment is we have a tough situation out there now; we’re adding a high-generation use,” Gillon said. “It’s not a low-generation as a warehouse distributor or garden center that may have off-peak hours. . . . I think you’re going to have gridlock beyond what you have right now, and I think there may be better uses that are permissible that may have better impacts than this one.”

Councilors have been taking testimony and gathering information on the current proposal for a 25,000-square-foot C-Mart supermarket since early March.

At two prior public hearings, questions of racial bias arose, and last week, Mayor Thomas Koch sent the City Council a letter rejecting implications that opposition to the C-Mart plan was racially motivated. But race was mentioned only briefly by a councilor last Monday, during the city’s third hearing on the proposal.

Councilors plan to debate traffic and drainage issues at a hearing on April 23.

Jessica Bartlett can be reached at jessica.may.bartlett@gmail.com.
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