A proposal to put a coal stove and truck parts business at 456 Ashland St. drew concerns over noise and traffic from neighbors behind the property.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A Florida couple's plan to open a coal stove and truck-parts business on Ashland Street ran into opposition at Monday's Planning Board meeting.
The board voted to continue the special permit application of Kennard and Janet Sherman for property located at 456 Ashland St. and to schedule a site visit after neighbors complained the operation would disrupt the neighborhood.
Ken Sherman said his business is selling bagged coal and coal stoves and performance parts for light diesel Ford trucks, some of which will be installed on the site. All materials and work would be done inside the building, he said, and the hours would be 7 a.m. to 8 p.m., although the business is not expected to be open regularly that late. A waste-oil burner is going to be installed that would take care of any oil drained from vehicle work.
"Right now it's out of our house on Florida Mountain and it's just starting to grow bigger than what we can do up there," said Ken Sherman. "So we're looking to move to an area where we can start the business up. ...
"Three years ago, we had one truck of coal, now we've got 10 trucks of coal and we haven't advertised yet, we haven't been down here."
The Shermans plan to buy the property from Mark and Natham Braman if the permits are approved. Sherman said he planned on putting new windows in and cleaning up and painting the building, and cleaning up the old container wall and area with the expectation of having it either removed or restored.
But neighbors on nearby Corinth and Davenport street listed concerns about lighting, traffic and noice.
Alice Cande of Corinth Street said her outdoor space was a major consideration of her home and understood the train was a trade off when she moved there.
"I have the train a couple times a day and I have a nice, quiet, rural atmosphere," said Alice Cande of Corinth Street. "I'm now faced with a 7 to 8 o'clock business, which by his own estimate, is too big for his house, so it's going to be busy.
"We're talking about trucks, we're talking about coal, we're talking about floodlights on all night. ... if this is a rural community I should have quiet enjoyment of my house."
Ann Marie Belmonte's gallery sign didn't get any love. (The editor thinks it's creepy cool).
Former Mayor John Barrett III, who also lives on Corinth Street, said he, too, was concerned about noise but also the site improvement and traffic safety because of the proximity of the trestle underpass.
"That's an entrance coming into the city and there didn't seem to be any plan put forth for cleaning up the property," he said. "There's no plan before the board tonight and I'm very concerned about trucks going in and out ... It's a very dangerous corner.
"I know this is zoned for this particular area but at the same time, I'd ask the board to go down there and take a look at the site. ... it's just not right for this business from what I can see."
The board approved two applications submitted by Moresi & Associates for the operation of an early intervention program for children at 26 Union St. and the storage and production of theater supplies at 1470 Massachusetts Ave.
David Moresi said his company was representing the owners in both cases, although he is working toward the purchase of the Union Street property, better known as the Wall-Streeter shoe mill.
The long-vacant first floor is being renovated as space for United Cerebral Palsy programs. UCP Executive Director Christine Singer said the organization was seeking space to work with families with infants and toddlers during the day and for life and employment skills later in the evening with adults.
United Cerebral Palsy is expanding into the former Wall-Streeter Shoe Co. building.
Singer said the classes are small, highly supervised and would not go past 8 p.m. (Planner Donald Keagan abstained from dicussion and vote because he is a member of the UCP board.)
Also approved was a special permit for Galo Lopez, operating as Espana Inc., to open a Spanish restaurant at the former Isabella's at 896 State Road on condition that screening be installed around the trash container in the back. Lopez, who also owns Coyote Flaco in Williamstown, expected to open later in the summer.
Board members gave the OK for Ann Marie Belmonte to sell handmade items such as soap, jewelry and "coffin furniture" at 28 Eagle St. but a couple balked at her Warped Gallery's bizarre sign.
"I think it looks kind of ghoulish," said Vice Chairman Paul Hopkins, which made Belmonte laugh. She said she wasn't opposed to just putting Warped Gallery on the outside; the windows were large enough to let passers-by know what was inside.
Chairman Michael Leary, too, said he preferred something "a little plainer," but Planner Brian Miksic said, "I would not like you to get very plain with your signage; this is going to reflect what's inside your store ... but if you could find something that can balance [the taste of the board]?"
"Let me rephrase," said Leary. "More plain."
In other business:
• An application of Dana Ritcher to open an automotive garage at 537 Ashland St. was denied without prejudice. The matter had been continued from last month pending Ritcher's written withdrawal. "Everyone here knows it is not going to go forward at the applicant's request; we just don't have the letter," said Meranti, but the letter had yet to arrive.
• A request from Yaling Wang of the Sushi House at 37 Main St. to put tables on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant was continued because Wang was not present.
• An application of BVS 5401 Investors LLC for property located at 1519-1525 South Church St./Curran Memorial Highway (the Super Walmart) to move a subdivision line was approved. The area has no frontage and is not a building lot.
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Yeah, Kenny Sherman's coal business is going to be louder than freight trains going by all day long everyday. I'm not sure what train tracks Ms. Cande lives next to but I live next to the tracks that have 15 plus freight trains a day. Not to mention both she and the former Mayor bought houses that border an Industrial Zone. So guess what? Someone might open a business that's allowed in an Industrial Zone.
Editor: They kind of are the aesthetics police: keeping the city sightly has always been part of their purview. Now, you may not agree with their taste ... I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Every time anyone tries to open a business at that property, Cande goes to the board and says the same thing - she bought such a beautiful piece of property in quiet little North Adams, and you better not ever dare interrupt my back yard sitting. Then she says, "I have one or two trains go by a day, which is fine." I have tracks behind my house, too, and Oh me oh my is right... that freight goes by 10 to 15 times a day. I don't mind it one bit. She bought a piece of property next to an industrial zone, live with it... or YOU can buy the property in question, Ms. Cande, and turn it into a nice cookout area if you want.
You all seem to think the planning board put the kibosh on this project. Not so. A site visit is planned, after which we'll see where it goes. The building is atrocious, though, and needs work one way or another (or a bulldozer). Agreed with Choo Choo - the residents of Corinth should pool their pennies and buy it, if they never want anything to go in there.
The artist who is opening the shop had no problem whatsoever with altering her proposed sign, so why does it seem to bother so many people? It's her business and she was quite pleasant and understood that Eagle Street is an historic district and signage should be in line with the character of the buildings. As for the board deciding on "fonts," as one poster put it, that wasn't the case. No one said a word about the lettering on the proposed sign. It just amazes me what people get jazzed about in this city.
The people who want to open the coal stove place have chosen a piece of property that's clearly blighted, and it will need a lot of work. All the board is doing is asking to visit the site, get a clear plan of the business owner's plans for improvement. The residents who live near it... sorry, but it is industrial zoning, and if it's legally allowed, I don't think this board should step in and say, "We vote no because Mrs. Cande needs to have her backyard undisturbed... well, except for those dozen trains that pass by within a few feet of her yard." NIMBY NIMBY NIMBY...
Editor: Ms. Belmonte thought the board's reaction to her sign was funny (which is why I noted in the story that she laughed.) She was very agreeable to making any changes and letting the merchandise speak for itself. I Agree (0) - I Disagree (0)
Im so tired of people whine about no businesses coming to the city THEN oppose when one tries. NAPB - get your head out of your butts and as long as signage meets the required size etc approve. Who care whats on the sign. Its called diversity and NA needs to get out of the 1920s way of thinking.
Okay, sick of the whiners, might help if you actually had facts to back up your "opinion." The board DID support the business with the signage question - they approved it, and many other business applications. They postponed a vote on the Ashland Street business because of questions around the state of the property, which is atrocious, and yes, because of the whiners who complained it will interfere with their back yard meditations. Do you expect the board to just approve the business because it will pay taxes, and not expect it to have some kind of plan? The property is awful, the business owners had few details on what they will do to improve it. The board will visit the site. Where exactly is the anti-business end of this?
Just make sure signs meet the size requirements and approve them, hey? Right. In this town that means people would use magic markers and cardboard, with a little duct tape to hold it to the building. You do have to have SOME standards, so you have to draw the line SOMEwhere. I mean, look at the sign! Interesting, yes. Artistic, if you say so. Signage for a business? Bizarre.
Business is gone in this city,the major car dealers,,crane is going to eventually move its north adams operation to space they own in dalton. North adams has become a retirement community. Seems people are starting more to rely on coal and pellets to heat their homes, and a plan to operate a coal business gets shot down? You should welcome opportunity for the tax revenue that business could create. How many years did we see mountains of scrap metal being processed in that area? Look at main street, empty storefronts. Do you remember getting anything you needed there? Now maybe you can get your hair done, get eyeglasses, eat sushi or look at the rest with just art hanging in the window. Welcome to north adams.. the sleepy bedroom community
Historic eagle street or prehistoric Eagle street??? this City needs change, but the only way anyone will allow it is if you fight. The Buildings are all falling down. When was that last time any of you nay sayers even walked down the street for anything? Lets start at the top and work our way down from the center street side. Pizza shop one side, across the street \"collectables\" next to them Gallery that is never open. back to the other side. Store front used to be book store>NOT OPEN. next to that FOOD PANTRY. back across to the other side, we have Grass and Tree material for sale or not for sale? next to that EMPTY STORE, music store that is owned by a [alleged] drug dealer(check local \"in court\" section) then we go back over to the bank> what more do i say it\'s a bank. then we have \"the party place\" um, they have ferrets in there, you can buy your food containers there, why would you? then we have an emplty store front across the street that from a look in the window is not going to be ready anytime soon. Next to that the newly opened Warp Gallery, which I understand has no heating system and they have to move. Despo\'s across from them. and another EMPTY store front beyond repair across from them. A someone interesting \"free stuff\" gallery and back across of North Adams finest building in our historic dist. It\'s really a lovely eye sore with the \"art work\" that is far more tasteless then the picture of the sign that the Warp wanted to use. I guess we can end our trip there really no need to go further is there?
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