The Planning Board on Monday approved Scarafoni Associates' plan to tear down the back side of the Dowlin Block.
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday approved a plan to demolish the back end of the Dowlin Block and convert the 65-apartment complex to a 25 units.
David Carver of Scarafoni Associates said the move will address parking and the need for market-rate, high-quality apartments.
"What we're essentially trying to do is balance the size of the building with the lot," Carver said.
Carver said there is no timetable for the project and he is exploring the concept with the city, Historical Commission and Planning Board.
The lot, located at 101-107 Main St., will feature five apartments on each floor of the building, an idea Carver said has been contemplated for years.
No one will be displaced, as tenants were cleared out last year.
Justyna Carlson, chairman of the Historical Commission, said the renovation has been a topic at the last two meetings of her board. She said a formal motion is expected to made at the next meeting.
Resident James Burdick did not like the idea of knocking down the back end.
"I collect a lot of North Adams memorabilia. I've got postcards going back to 1900 that shows that building. It's part of the skyline when you look to the west of the Church Street area," Burdick said. "I think this city lost a lot of historical buildings in urban renewal, and I think ripping this section of the building down now, I don't agree with that, I think we're going to lose more of our heritage and Main Street character by ripping down part of that building."
City Councilor John Barrett III supports the project and said it will help revitalize downtown.
"I'm a supporter of this project. If you're going to rebuild downtown one of the strongest components you have to have is a good housing component," Barrett said. "That can lead to other things happening in the downtown, whether it be shops, whether it be restaurants, and I think this can be a tremendous asset to the city."
► The application for the Barbara and Eric Rudd Art Foundation, located at the former United Methodist Church, to operate as a museum was approved with the stipulation that Rudd needs to return to the board if he takes in any tenants — nonprofit or otherwise.
Chairman Michael Leary did not appreciate his complaints and told him it's a common practice to return to the board for changes in use. In addition, he said Rudd had the opportunity to get the variance from the ZBA before June.
►The board approved Greylock Bowl and Golf's request to modify its license to include a full-service restaurant, as well as change its color scheme to one of two proposed designs and signage.
► Dr. Ralph Blanchard's request to use the 180 Ashland St. lot for employee parking was approved. Blanchard bought the property last year and the single-family home was recently demolished.
► Gery Benedetti's application for a traffic pattern change at Best-Way Car Wash, located on River Street, was approved. The change will relieve potential traffic jams on River Street when the car wash closes one bay and adds an automatic unit.
► The board denied the application for a Shaker workshop on Ashland Street after a no-show at the meeting.
► The application of Consulting and Design LLC for property located at the Shell Station on State Road was withdrawn. The applicant had been asking for postponements for several months.
► A sign change for Advance Auto Parts on 63 Veterans Memorial Drive was approved. The shop will now use a more energy-efficient LED light.
Prior to the Planning Board meeting, the Redevelopment Authority approved Jill Miller's request to open a children's consignment shop at 18 Ashland St.
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