Wednesday, April 10, 2019

What Was Old Is New Again

People in Hudson used to play bocce in a dusty vacant lot at 235 Warren Street, but for the twenty years or more now, that lot has been the pocket park known as Thurston Park, where people congregate and relax and children play on the swings, but no one plays bocce. Now there's a plan to bring bocce back to Warren Street--to 347 Warren Street to be exact.

Last night, Zak Pelaccio and Kevin Pomplun appeared before the Planning Board to present what Pelaccio jokingly called "the annual upgrade to BackBar." Last year at this time, BackBar sought an amendment to its previous site plan approval to extend the hours of operation for its outdoor space. This year they are seeking to reconfigure the outdoor space, enlarge the seasonal bar, build pergolas to guide people from the street to the entrance, and introduce "family fun games"--bocce, shuffleboard, cornhole--in the open space nearest the street, once occupied by food trucks.

The proposal was the last item on the agenda in a meeting that lasted three and a half hours. It was nearly nine o'clock when the Planning Board turned its attention to this proposal, and it seemed the board was more interested in discussing if BackBar had met the conditions that had been set last year. What was in question was a fence with sound-absorbing material designed and constructed in consultation with a professional acoustician. Pelaccio and Pomplun attested that the fence had been built. Code enforcement officer Craig Haigh avowed that he had never been asked to confirm that the work had been done. The site plan approval granted last April gave BackBar one year to implement the proposed sound mitigation, and one year will be up tomorrow, April 11. It was agreed that Pomplun would provide Haigh with the manufacturer's specifications for the sound-absorbing material used, without which Haigh declared "the fence is unapprovable," and Haigh would inspect the fence by April 11.

The proposed alterations require a certificate of appropriateness from the Historic Preservation Commission, and it's likely the project will be presented to the HPC at its meeting this Friday morning, April 12. For its part in the approval process, the Planning Board agreed to schedule a public hearing for Tuesday, May 14.

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