North Adams ZBA Holds Off on Cab Request, OKs Studio Plans

By Jack GuerinoiBerkshires Staff
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The Zoning Board of Appeals took no action on a request to expand a home occupation and approved the renovation of a River Street building.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. – The Zoning Board of Appeals took no action Monday night on City Cab's request to alter its permit to allowing the parking of taxis on other properties.

Owner Michael McMillian submitted a letter to the board asking to alter his home occupancy permit for his taxi service to allow him to park vehicles at 183 Houghton St.

Chairman Donald Pecor said the board granted McMillian permission for his home property on 257 Houghton St. during a meeting in June, and scheduled further alterations to the permit during the upcoming Sept. 15 meeting. He said amending the permit early would not be appropriate.

"This gives you time to deal with any issues you have with the city, but also if you want to make a change in your application and where you want your taxis to go it will give you time to work with the city to make sure you actually get the proper application in," Pecor said. "It also gives us time to provide notification to the public and all things we are obliged to do legally."

McMillian has been accused of violating some of the city's taxi regulations. During last Tuesday's City Council meeting, Councilor Keith Bona had asked that two licenses to drive for City Cab be tabled but the motion failed. However, McMillian still has unresolved issues with the city.

McMillian said, despite any alleged conflict with the city, his business is growing and he wants to accommodate it.

"I am looking for an office and proper parking, but it is easier said than done at this point," McMillian said. "I hope this wouldn't be a permanent thing because if it continues [I’ll have] five, six or seven cars I'd bring to the house and stack them up in the driveway,… and that can't happen so the sooner I can find an office the better."

The property McMillian asked for permission to park his cars on is owned Charles Ransford. McMillian asked if he needed permission from the board if Ransford said it was OK.

Board member Peter Milanesi said City Cab only has a home occupation permit and parking cars on another location breaks the agreement.

"If you want to get a different location you would have to start from square one with a whole new application and review," Milanesi said. "It really wouldn't count as a home occupation because one of the requirements of a home occupation is that it has to be your home."

Board member Ross Jacobs said extending the permit anymore could create issues.

"Your typical home occupation … has to be fully self-contained, and all equipment and all personal have to be in that particular house," Jacobs said. "Whereas when you were talking about a taxi service you now have capital equipment that is now being stored outside of that home office making the whole thing fairly tenuous legally."

Alicia Canary explains her plans for 101-104 River St.

Pecor said the board can only deal with the location and perhaps issues with home occupation. Any other negotiation may have to go through the city.

 "We pretty much extended the definition when we allowed you the second residence because it wasn't quite really a home occupation," he said. "Maybe with working with the city there is a solution."

The board accepted the application of Alicia Canary, who wants to add an addition to the 101-104 River St. property next to the Corner Market.

She plans to construct a second-floor studio apartment and renovate the building so it can be used.

"We are going go in there and do a renovation on the first unit, and I am thinking about putting a second story there to use as a personal residence," Canary said. "We might use the first unit as a studio and gallery."

The board showed no real concern with the plans, which were approved by the Planning Board last week.

"My observation is simply what your plans are will be a vast improvement over what the structure is now," Pecor said.

Tags: taxi,   ZBA,   

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