Thursday, June 18, 2015

ZBA Do Over

382 North Pleasant Street Saturday early afternoon (note beer pong bottom rt)

382 North Pleasant Street, A "house" with a long history of rowdy behavior, came before the Zoning Board of Appeals last week with the (somewhat) new owner wishing to renew it as a two-family unit allowing 8 unrelated tenants.

A ZBA 2006 decision had denied a Special Permit for it to continue as a fraternity/rooming house which it was originally built as in 1967.

 382 North Pleasant Street September 3, 2014

Parking was the initial issue this time around as the new owner (Clifford Laraway) wanted  13 parking spaces and the ZBA and neighbors wanted it far fewer at 8.  The compromise was 10 total,  8 parking spaces for tenants and 2 for guests.  

But the current tenants don't seem to follow the rules very closely. Attorney Peter MacConnell insisted there was an "education period" required.

ZBA member Keith Langsdale took issue with that saying the parking citations had been issued in April and presumable these tenants had been living there since September, which doesn't say much for the "education" process.

Outgoing ZBA Chair Eric Beal was greatly concerned about the number of rooms in the building and how many of them seemed to give indication of being used as bedrooms well beyond the eight maximum allowed by law.  A number of "living rooms" had doors on them.

And during a site visit in April six beds were spotted stored on the 3rd floor.

Assistant Fire Chief Don McKay drew a line in the sand saying in a memo that AFD would only support the special permit renewal if a new improved fire alarm system and Knox box were installed, and the removal of an underground oil storage tank.

When he made his inspection of the inadequate fire system back in April Assistant Chief McKay noticed 12 cars parked (a violation of the 10 car parking plan) and they all had cold engines, indicating they probably had been there overnight.

The June 11 meeting was a continuation from October 30, 2014 initial start (with other hearings continued to December 11, 2014 and May 14, 2015) so the original three ZBA members must make the final decision.

All three board members wanted to see a floor plan that clearly showed where 8 bedrooms would be located.  Not the "bedroom/living room" either/or format that they were given that night. And Mr. Beal suggested the doors be removed from any room designated as a "living room" or "pantry."

Chair Eric Beal was retiring as of the end of the meeting.  The ZBA never adopted the Mullins Rule (where a member can miss one meeting as long as they listen to the recording) so the petitioner had to formally withdraw and must now resubmit a new Special Permit application, although the board did waive the fees. 

382 North Pleasant rap sheet (yellow highlights indicate when new owner took over)


Anonymous said...

ZBA and town govt--please enforce the rules. Here we have a landlord breaking the rules and now asking for permission to get around them. Make the rules clear, enforce them and it will be safer for tenants, better for neighbors and less rule breaking ahead. In a way, it's like parenting.

Anonymous said...

If the people in charge of enforcing these rules don't want to do their jobs, then maybe the town should look at replacing them. If nothing else it may get their attention. Like a learning period, or on the job training.