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Wayne Wilkinson, left, rejoins the Planning Board with Donald Keagan, Paul Senecal and Joseph Gniadek.

North Adams Tavern Gets OK to Move

By Tammy DanielsiBerkshires Staff
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NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The Planning Board on Monday approved the Crystal Hard Hat's move into the former Quinn's Paint and Wallpaper building at the corner of Union and Canal streets.

The special permit application by owner Todd Hebert had been continued from last month's meeting to give planners time to make a site visit and have relocation referred to the Traffic Commission over parking concerns.

Hebert said his wife, Nancy, is buying the vacant building and will lease the front section of the ground floor to the tavern. The couple plan to side the building, remove the deteriorating back decks and create a fenced in area with a picnic table on one side of the building for smokers so they aren't in the public way.

"We're not hard to work with," said Hebert. "We're willing to work with you to make it a nice building. It's ours, we want it to be a nice-looking building."

The business is currently located just north of the Canal Street intersection in a structure owned by Rusty Ransford.

Board Chairman Michael Leary said his concerns over parking along Canal Street increased after using one of the lined parking spots. "I would like to see a recommendation that the Traffic Commission review parking along that whole street."

City Administrative Officer Jay Green said the Traffic Commission had not been able to meet for lack of a quorum. He added that the city wanted Hebert to consider a landscaping plan and recommended a time limit on exterior improvements because the business lies withing one of the city's main entrance corridors.

Hebert said the plan was to side the building when weather permitted but the deteriorating porches may be a more immediate issue.

Planners Paul Hopkins, left, Chairman Michael Leary, Kyle Hanlon and David Babcock.
"I can't do them now. We only have so much money to work with right now," said Hebert, adding the interior renovations had to be completed. "We're going to clean it outside and make it look as good as we can."

The board approved the permit with the condition that Hebert complete siding of the structure by Dec. 10, 2010, and work with the Office of Community Development on signage with the board having final review. The parking issue was referred back to the Traffic Commission.

The board also approved the North Adams Artists Cooperative Gallery at 33 Main St., which has been operating in the former Roberts Co. building since DownStreet Art program began in late spring.

The 32 artists in the cooperative were so pleased with the location and foot traffic that they decided to try keeping the gallery open year-round. The special permit application was filed by co-op members Colleen A. Williams and Nestor Valdes.

The approval came with the condition that the gallery's wooden sign be kept in good condition or a more permanent sign be considered.

BVS 5401 Investors LLC's application for a special permit to construct a shopping center (Walmart) in a I-1 Zone was postponed to the January meeting. Representatives had not been able to meet with the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission, MassHighway or the Berkshire Regional Transit Authority in time for Monday's hearing.

In othe business, the board:

  Continued an appliation for Core States Group at 148 Eagle St.

Continued an application for Edward J. Tripodes Sr. and Candy L. Tripodes to operate a video rental and custom printing sales at 16 Eagle St. The space was most recently Widgetz.

Green said the "propsoal on the weak side compared to proposals that come to us. It's hard to tell if it fits into the character of the neighborhood." He did not explain what he meant by character.

Leary advised Tripodes to work with the Office of Community Development. "I believe this application needs to be a little more filled out."

Approved Taylor's Restaurant application to stay open later than normal hours for a New Year's Eve event and a banner advertising the evening.

Approved a change in signage for Xtra Mart at 232 Ashland St. from Citgo to new fuel supplier Sunoco.

  Recommended to the City Council the realignment on paper of South State Street. Green said "a team of lawyers" has found the line of the road and the public right of way on paper don't match up. With the planned shopping plazas along the former county-owned road, this "will streamline any process for develoopment down the road."

Welcomed Wayne A. Wilkinson back to the board. Wilkinson, a former planner, replaced William Schrade Jr., who resigned several months ago.
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MCLA Men's Lacrosse Falls at Home

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. -- The Anna Maria men's lacrosse team jumped out to an early 7-2 lead and went on to a 20-13 win over MCLA on Saturday.
Nathan Haley, a former standout for Hoosac Valley, scored five goals for MCLA, which also got a goal from fellow Drury graduate Neil Brierley.
Boden Dock made 12 saves for the Trailblazers.
MCLA (0-2) goes to SUNY Purchase on Wednesday.
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