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Dalton ZBA Approves Senior Apartments for Curtis Manor

By Dan Gigliotti
iBerkshires Correspondent
11:38PM / Tuesday, December 03, 2013
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Joseph Kroboth of Pittsfield intends to convert the former Curtis Manor to an independent living center.

DALTON, Mass. — An affirmative ruling was reached on Tuesday to allow for the proposed conversion of a former rest home into an independent living center.

The Zoning Board of Appeals gave its approval for a special permit application allowing Dalton Senior Apartments LLC to convert its property at 83 Curtis Ave. to a multifamily residence during its regular meeting at Town Hall.

Provisions were made by the board as to the site plan proposal, including that residency be restricted to those 55 years and older and parking limited to one spot per dwelling unit (13 total), with the added condition that parking on the street is prohibited.

As of one year from the approval of a certificate of occupancy, the special permit for this project will be subject to review, to ensure that the limitations imposed by the board have the desired effect.

Tuesday's ruling concludes a permitting process that lasted approximately six months.

Following a contentious public hearing on Nov. 12 regarding the special permit applications, the ZBA had 90 days to make a final ruling on whether to accept or reject the project proposal for Dalton Senior Apartments.

Under the moniker Dalton Apartments LLC, owner Joseph Kroboth of Pittsfield submitted three special permit applications in September for the conversion of the former rest home. The applications were commented on by the Traffic Commission, Select Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board, before a public hearing was held for a representative of the building's ownership to address any questions and concerns of town officials and residents.

The proposals, created and submitted by SK Design Group Inc., consists of the conversion of the former Curtis Manor Retirement Home to multifamily residences designed for as independent living units for seniors.

The predominant concerns raised by residents were with the proposed parking parameters of the project. Some 20 members of the public attended last month's hearing held at the Dalton Senior Center; about half of whom vocalized issues with the potential increase in traffic surrounding a location they say already has plenty, according to the ZBA's meeting minutes.

Curtis Manor was established in 1979, operating as a licensed, 23-bed, for-profit nursing home facility.


Dalton ZBA May Rule on Senior Apartment Project Tuesday

Original post at 2:30 p.m., Dec. 3, 2013

DALTON, Mass. — A former rest home is the focus of concern for some Dalton residents who are questioning the efficacy of a local owner's plans to repurpose his property.

Joseph Kroboth of Pittsfield intends to convert the former Curtis Manor to an independent living center, according to a series of special permit applications first submitted in the summer and which have since been subject of considerable scrutiny.

The proposal, created and submitted by SK Design Group Inc., consists of the conversion of the former Curtis Manor Retirement Home to 10 multi-family residences (Independent Living).

Under the moniker Dalton Apartments LLC, Kroboth submitted three special permit applications in September for the conversion of the former rest home located at 83 Curtis Ave. The applications were commented on by the Traffic Commission, Select Board, Planning Board and Zoning Board, before a public hearing was held for a representative of the building's ownership to address any questions and concerns of town officials and Dalton residents.

Following the public hearing, held on Nov. 12, the ZBA had 90 days to make either accept or reject the proposed series of special permit applications. On Tuesday, it will meet in the Callahan Room at Town Hall at 7:30 p.m. for the first time since that hearing, with the potential to make a definitive ruling on the proposed project.

The predominant issue off contention with the the site plan proposal is its parking parameters. Some 20 members of the public attended the public hearing held by the Dalton Board of Appeals on Nov. 12 at the Dalton Senior Center; about half of whom vocalized issues with the potential increase in traffic surrounding a location they say already has plenty of it, according to meeting minutes issued from the town's Board of Appeals.

Dalton Apartments LLC seeks permits to convert a nonconforming structure as well as an existing non-residential building to accommodate one or more dwellings. It also seeks a reduction in the numbered of required parking spaces for the proposed multi-family, independent living center.

Current town zoning bylaws require this project to provide 20 parking spaces, or 1.5 spaces per dwelling unit, of which the proposed building has 13. Citing three studies conducted by industry professionals and research centers, SK Design says the town should reduce the parking restrictions on its project to11 spaces, based on more specific classifications that the multi-family living space is housing for seniors.

The group also noted that the proposed facility will employee one, part-time building superintendent, as opposed to approximately 10 employed by the former rest home Curtis Manor.

Initially, the public resented the impositions of Kroboth's ownership group placing a homeless shelter in the Curtis Ave. building, though their original impressions of the project were misconceived.

"Neighbors assumed one thing. It's not apparently, judging from the new application, what the applicant had intended," Lisa Peltier said, administrative assistant to the town ZBA. "At the first meeting for this application [on Aug. 6], people were lined up almost out the door."

Kroboth, who also owns the building at 1307 North St. in Pittsfield that houses Barton's Crossing emergency shelter, used the same moniker of his limited liability corporation as the homeless shelter location for his independent living center proposal in a special permit application submitted in June. This led residents to have misguided impressions of the project proposal, ultimately forcing Kroboth to withdraw his first permit application in the wake of public scrutiny and resubmit a more detailed version, according to Peltier.

The first special permit application was withdrawn without prejudice, in lieu of his augmented set of three applications.

Curtis Manor was established in 1979, operating as a licensed, 28-bed, for-profit nursing home facility.

In December, Kroboth acquired the parcel of property at foreclosure, under the moniker 1307 North Street LLC (the property was transferred to Dalton Senior Apartments in September). The parcel is abutted by a commercial lot to the west, and residential lots to the south and southwest. On the opposite side of the streets are residential properties. In addition to the former Curtis Manor, the property has two single-family homes that are rented. There is also an existing driveway and onsite parking for five to six vehicles.


Tags: senior housing,   special permit,   

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