Thursday, March 12, 2015

Booze, Demolition, and a Barking Dog

On February 14, Gossips reported that the Planning Board would hold a public hearing at 6 p.m. on March 11 on the plan to expand the Quick Mart at 67 Green Street. Last night, without veteran Planning Board chair Don Tillson, who resigned last month, and with Claudia DeStefano serving as acting chair, there was no public hearing at 6 p.m. Instead the Planning Board launched into the review of at least five other projects before getting around to the public hearing about the Quick Mart, forcing any members of the public who had come for the hearing to sit through nearly two hours of other business before their opportunity came to be heard.

The first project on the agenda was 347 Warren Street, the outdoor food court and beer and wine garden. The rendering below shows the vision that was approved by the Planning Commission three years ago--a vision that, as we all know, never became a reality.

Last night, Brian Herman, representing the owner, Michael Davis, came before the Planning Board seeking a modification of the site plan that was approved back in 2012. According to Herman, "When the plan was approved, it was all hypothetical," and that hypothetical plan is not working out. The proposed modification moves all the food trucks--a maximum of five now instead of the original maximum of three--closer to the street and devotes the back of the lot to outdoor seating for the bar: sixteen tables, which will seat an estimated 96 people and be accessed only through the bar inside the building. 

The Planning Board was concerned about seating capacity (there are more tables toward the front), hours of operation, lighting, and trash receptacles. The review of the requested site plan modification will continue at the Planning Board's next meeting on April 8.

Next up was the plan for 225 State Street. The house that now stands on that lot has already been partially demolished. (Since virtually nothing on the north side of town is officially recognized as historic, although wonderful examples of late 18th- and 19th-century vernacular architecture are found there, not much can be done to save a house if the owner or the code enforcement officer decides it is "beyond repair.") What is planned to replace the house is a double house that will "stay within the size and scale of the area" and be "stylistically compatible" with the design of the surrounding houses. The plans also include a garage on Long Alley with a "work studio" above it. Because the setbacks at the front and sides of the building will not comply with city code (although they conform with what exists in the neighborhood), the project was referred to the Zoning Board of Appeals for area variances.

The next project proposed will make the big empty space in the 300 block of Warren Street, created by the "Good Friday Fire" that happened fifty years ago, even emptier. What's proposed is the demolition of the building, once Harold's Bar, that was constructed at 330 Warren Street after the fire, the restoration and extension of the brick wall that now stands where 332 and 334 Warren Street once were, and the creation on those three lots of a "side yard garden" for 336 Warren Street, which will be restored.

This project is in the locally designated Warren Street Historic District and will come before the Historic Preservation Commission tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.

The next project that came before the Planning Board last night also involved demolishing a building on Warren Street, although in this case the building's facade would be preserved and restored to its earliest documented appearance. The building is 211 Warren Street, which was severely damaged by fire a few years ago. The plan is to restore the facade of the building and its original commercial storefront and build behind it a passive structure that would be commercial on the ground floor with residential space above. Behind the building, on Cherry Alley, a two-car garage would be constructed, with a one-bedroom apartment above it. This project too will come before the Historic Preservation Commission on Friday morning. 

The next project before the Planning Board was a microbrewery to be established in part of the old L&B building. It was at that point, after the meeting had gone on for an hour and a half, that Gossips received word that Joey, waiting in the car, was barking. 

Gossips left the meeting then and was not present for the public hearing on 67 Green Street or to watch as the members of the Planning Board read silently a report from Crawford & Associates about 78 Green Street (the building that was constructed in the wrong place) and a communication from former city attorney Jack Connor, who owns the property adjacent to the misplaced structure. Gossips has learned, however, that a public hearing about 78 Green Street will take place at the Planning Board's next meeting, which is scheduled for April 8.

1 comment:

  1. FWIW, I remember it being called Harold’s Lounge, not Bar.