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The Porches is planning to raze two buildings on Veazie Street for a serving and storage area.

North Adams Planners OK Porches Inn Structure

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday gave final approval for the Porches Inn to construct a new building where its patrons can have breakfast. 
The inn, operating as Berkshire Hills Development Co. LLC, purchased four parcels along Veazie Street and plans to demolish two buildings on them to make room for the gathering center. 
Attorney Jeffrey Grandchamp of Grinnell Partners LLC, representing the inn, said 10 and 18-20 Veazie St. would be razed and parking spaces will be relocated. The ZBA approved waivers for the project, including for parking so the inn would not have to add more for the new building. 
"The side of the building that will be facing Veazie Street is going to be architecturally consistent with the neighborhood although the building as a whole ... is sort of an architecturally interesting and innovative, which we think will be nice," he told the board.
The structure will have a gathering area, bathrooms, storage and serving area but not a full kitchen. It will only be open to guests and the only signage will be on the interior grounds. 
Porches is made up of a string of connected Victorian multifamily homes, none of which have the space to accommodate guests for breakfast. 
The board also heard an update on methods to provide more screening of the massive solar array installed by Clean Energy Collective above Coca-Cola ledge. 
The 1.32-megawatt solar array on 25 acres drew scores of complaints last fall because of its high visibility from numerous points on the city's east side. Planners were angry that a rendering with sightlines they had seen did not match what the final project looked like.
Michael Whigham, senior director of project management at Clean Energy Collective, told the board on Monday that he had looked over the area with Building Inspector William Meranti and come up with a solution. 
"The primary concern is, at least as Bill and I discussed it, was on the farthest upslope side of what we call the B site, which is the west site, that was in an area where you could basically see from the tree clearing all the way to the ground," he said. "We went in and we planted 50 trees. It was a mix of native red oaks and saplings ... they'll grow pretty quick up there."
Whigham said the brush has already grown much thicker where the trees had been cleared for the project. 
"I think that the company has made a considerable effort to remediate the problem," Meranti said in answering the board's questions. "Will it satisfy every citizen? Probably not, but I think they've done all that we've asked of them."
In other business, the board approved a Form A that adds a section of the Greylock Works mill to an existing parcel.
Attorney F. Sydney Smithers of Cain Hibbard & Myers said the partition gives volume to Parcel B, the flume that runs under Route 2 between the mill and the Hoosic River. The wheel room in the basement level, where the water ran in to power the machines in the former textile mill, is planned to be turned into an entryway when the flume is opened as a pedestrian access. 
"There are structures like this all over the city of Boston," he said, and are largely skyways similar to the one at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield. "We're doing it inside the building."
Parcels A1 and A2 make up the rest of the mill property, which is a for-profit venture as Greylock Works LLC. Parcel B, in contrast, is owned by the nonprofit Greylock Flume Inc. 
•  A Form A was also signed for Dennis Bernardi for property located at 20 Kately Lane to make it part of an adjacent lot.
David Moresi of Moresi Associates was granted a special permit for a change of use at 18 Union St., the former Wall-Streeter mill, which he owns. 
Moresi said he will use the office space in the building for real estate operations, Moresi Real Estate Partners, related to his business. 
• Planner Kyle Hanlon was re-elected to represent the board on the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Hanlon is currently chairman of the commission. 
• Planner Allyson Holmes asked that the board formally request the city "pursue zoning framing," as motioned by Hanlon, regarding sales and production of marijuana. Meranti said the city is looking into zoning issues and will be sending representatives to a state seminar at the end of the month. The board approved the motion to be on the record. 
• The board also asked, at the urging of Planner Brian Miksic, to revoke permits for the two gas stations that are operating kiosks but have no gas. Plans were put forward several years ago for both sites — at the corner of Canal and Eagle streets and on Route 2 — for new stations but no work has been done. 
Meranti said it appears that the plans are being redone but was given no details or framework. The board asked that he begin discussions with the city solicitor on how the permits can be revoked. 
• The manager of the Walmart Supercenter was invited to the next meeting to discuss landscaping maintenance issues at the Curran Highway store. Meranti said the manager was aware of the problems and wanted to address them. 

Tags: ZBA,   motels, hotels,   Planning Board,   solar array,   

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