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Curran Highway Zoning Change Set Aside

Tammy Daniels

Bart Raser of Carr Hardware tells of the Planning Board of his plans to relocate the business to Route 2.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — A proposal to rezone a section of land along the Hoosic River was put on the backburner on Monday night over concerns it would limit business opportunities on State Street.

Charles Fox, owner of the former K-K Home Mart property at 420 Curran Highway had applied to have the parcel under one zoning. It is currently split east/west as commercial (CC1) and industrial. Building Inspector William Meranti had suggested in March the strip of industrial zoning along the river be rezoned as CC1 from the Noel Field Athletic Complex to Foundry Road to prevent spot zoning.

"The purpose is to move that CC line back to the river so additional uses that are allowed in that zone can be allowed in the entire property," Meranti told a joint public hearing of the Planning Board and City Council.

Fox said he was looking to develop the property more along the lines of a human service hub, considering among its current tenants are a Berkshire Family and Individual Resources' program and United Cerebral Palsy. 

"We thought it might possibly include a residential component," said Fox. He referred to studio living space for those "not historically artists" who may be unable to move into the Eclipse Mill. "I believe we could apply with a residential permit but in the case of a CC zone, we could do that by right." 

However, Paul Cummings, representing McGill Properties Inc., said changing the industrial zone would have a negative affect on its property, specifically the building behind the radio station that had been leased by Verizon. 

Charles Fox wants his Curran Highway property rezoned to all commercial to allow more opportunities for mixed commercial and residential. A section of it is now zoned industrial. The board suggested he return with a legal option.

"We really have no interest in a zoning change ... period," he said. "It would reduce the value of our property. We aren't interested in residential. We have not been marketing it in that sense, we have been marketing it for commercial and industrial."

The loss of industrial zoning would limit the building's possible uses for light or heavy manufacturing, packaging, distribution and truck delivery, or contracting and building trades, Cummings continued.

David Moresi of Moresi & Associates, who is currently managing the building, said he would no longer be interested in purchasing the property because he wouldn't be able to base his electrical division and other contracting there.

"I feel the change would be counterproductive," he said. "Our industrial zoned areas are very, very valuable to us. We're always talking about getting manufacturing in the area ... changing these parcels will make it hard to bring that in here."

"We don't have a problem changing Charlie's property, but don't touch ours," said Cummings.

Fox said his attorneys believed that since part of his property fell within the CC1 zone, it could be extended east to the river without being spot zoning.

Board Chairman Michael Leary said he didn't think the board should vote on a recommendation for the City Council to act on; Fox asked if the application could be withdrawn or tabled. The board agreed to set it aside and invited Fox to submit a legal basis for changing the zoning only on his property.

"I think we would need a legal opinion on what that change would require," said Leary.

In other business:

• The board swiftly approved an application by Carr Hardware to relocate to the former Scarafoni Ford building on State Road. "I think it's an outstanding use for that property," said Leary.

• An application by Dana Ritcher to operate a garage on Ashland Street in an I-1 zone was continued pending the written intent of Ritcher to withdraw his application.

• Renee and Mark Lapier, owners of Big Shirl's Diner, were approved for dinner hours of 5 to 9 and added morning of 6 to 2 on Mondays.

Tags: zoning, Carr, industrial      

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