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Brothers Marketplace Application Approved by ZBA

After a lengthy discussion regarding signage, the ZBA approved the application for Roche Bros.' first small-concept store to open in the former Lord's building.

The Medfield Zoning Board of Appeals and Town Planner Sarah Raposa review plans for Brothers Marketplace, Roche Bros.' first small-concept store proposed for the former Lord's building. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
The Medfield Zoning Board of Appeals and Town Planner Sarah Raposa review plans for Brothers Marketplace, Roche Bros.' first small-concept store proposed for the former Lord's building. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
After a lengthy discussion about what constitutes a sign, the Medfield Zoning Board of Appeals approved the application for Brothers Marketplace with some conditions. 

Brothers Marketplace is the first small-concept store of its kind created by Roche Bros. supermarkets. They hope to transform the former Lord's Department Store into a cafe and marketplace early next year. 

The Dec. 10 meeting started with Roche Bros. representatives explaining: 

  • Roche Bros. will continue to allow library patron parking in the back parking lot; a new parking license agreement will be created (the old one terminated with the sale of the Lord's building).
  • The Board of Health is satisfied with the drainage in the back parking lot. The Planning Board will address that as part of its site plan review. Video scoping will be done and needed repairs will be made. 
  • Roche Bros. had asked for 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. business hours but changed it to 7 a.m. to 10 a.m. with no deliveries earlier than 6 a.m. 
  • Employees will be encouraged to park off-site. 

A signage package was also submitted at the last meeting by Roche Bros.' attorney Edward V. Cannon Jr. of Doherty, Ciechanowski, Dugan & Cannon PC in Franklin, seeking relief regarding the amount of signage allowed on a building. 

Roche Bros.' officials said that, under Medfield's zoning bylaws, the business is allowed two signs per building making up approximately 98 square feet of signage; however, Roche Bros. was asking for four signs making up 113 square feet. 

The signs include on on each street side of the Main Street and South Street corner, one on the "green wall" at the back entrance, and one at the entrance to the "Cafe and Marketplace" on Main Street.

Applicants also asked for monogrammed "B" on five awnings over the Main Street windows, plus a 6 feet by 5 feet menu messaging board to be near the entrance to the Cafe and Marketplace though they did not consider these to be signs. Ultimately, the ZBA would decide they constituted signage. 

"Historically, we have been against giving variances against increased signage," said ZBA Chairman Russell Hallissey, asking Cannon why the town should make an exception in this case.

Cannon said the request should be granted because of the "nature of this particular property and the importance of its retail location, and its location as an anchor store to draw people to downtown." 

After a lengthy discussion in which ZBA members debated over the size and locations of the sign, the ZBA decided:

  • No monogrammed "B" on the awnings
  • No more than two signs per building as outlined in the zoning bylaw
  • "Cafe and Marketplace" is considered a sign
  • The proposed menu messaging board is considered a sign
  • The property will be considered two buildings (the former Lord's building and the former Lord's offices which was a separate entity at one time) 
  • All signage must comply with the town's sign bylaw
"As presented, they have one sign on the second building (Lord's offices) and four signs on the other building (Lord's store), and we're limiting them to two signs per building," said Hallissey. 

This application will be in front of the Medfield Planning Board on Monday, Dec. 16, at 7:30 p.m. 

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