New Stewart’s on Washington Street gets final approval

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WATERTOWN — After weeks of sometimes heated debate, the new Stewart’s Shops convenience store on Washington Street received final approval Tuesday night.

The City Council signed off on the site plans for the new store, which will replace an existing one several blocks down the street.

Council members also moved on approving the needed special use permit for the store to sell gas.

Councilwoman Sarah V. Compo Pierce was absent from the meeting. She was one of three council members who supported the project this spring.

Needing three votes to move forward on Tuesday night, Councilwoman Lisa A. Ruggiero, who previously opposed the new store, allowed the project to move forward, saying it didn’t make sense to prolong it any further since it would eventually happen anyway.

She voted for both the site plans and special use permit.

Before the plans and permit passed, Mayor Jeffrey M. Smith continued his opposition of the new store by interjecting a series of questions about different aspects of the project.

After a debate that lasted more than an hour, Chuck Marshall, real estate representative for Stewart’s Shops, agreed to make changes to accommodate requests by neighbor Maryellen Blevins and the mayor.

Mr. Marshall expects construction to start in August and the store to open in October.

“At the end of the changes, I think it’s going to benefit the city,” Mr. Marshall said.

He credited Councilwoman Ruggiero’s “leadership” for changing her vote to allow the store to move forward.

“I think it seems the city is ready to move forward,” she said.

According to the site plans and special use permit, fuel deliveries can only take place from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and other deliveries must be done from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The store will be open from 5 a.m. to 11 p.m.

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