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Peterborough planning board approves church parking lot

  • A plan to demolish the former River Center building to increase parking at Reynolds Hall will be discussed at the Planning Board on Monday. Courtesy image—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Peterborough Planning Board approved a site plan to tear down the former River Center to make additional parking for All Saints Church during its meeting on Monday. Staff photo by Ashley Saari

  • The Peterborough Planning Board approved a site plan to tear down the former River Center to make additional parking for All Saints Church during its meeting on Monday. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript

  • The Peterborough Planning Board approved a site plan to tear down the former River Center to make additional parking for All Saints Church during its meeting on Monday. (Ashley Saari / Monadnock Ledger-Transcript) Staff photo by Ashley Saari—Monadnock Ledger-Transcript



Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, June 15, 2017

Despite protests from neighbors, the Peterborough Planning Board gave the go-ahead to All Saints Church to tear down the former River Center to expand their parking lot.

The board approved the plan in a 5-1 decision with Chair Ivy Vann, who is a member of All Saints Church, abstaining. Member Joe Hanlon was the sole holdout after initially proposing that the board hold off on the vote to further explore possible solutions for some of the concerns voiced at Monday’s meeting by abutters Jim Murphy and Deborah Ames. 

The plan, as outlined by John Catlin, of Catlin + Petrovick Architects, is to tear down the building that once housed the River Center — which has since moved to Vose Farm Road — for additional parking space. The lot is adjascent to the church’s parish, and the intent is to create a single, contiguous lot, with a single entrance and exit. The lot will add 15 parking spaces for the church.

Catlin outlined a plan to screen the lot from the street through tall plantings where the former River Center is now, and a sloping wall to help screen the view coming from the Peterborough Center.

Murphy and Ames, however, still voiced major concerns about the impact losing a house and gaining a parking lot would have on the view.

“These are things that are directly affecting us, as well as the streetscape,” said Ames. “We’ve never denied a need for parking on Concord Street. It’s a definite need.”

Vann told Ames that it was not the preference of the board to have a house torn down and replaced by a parking lot, either, but that it was not in the board’s purview to require that the house be kept.

But Ames also told the board that she had concerns that having all traffic entering and exiting through a single driveway – located almost directly across from Murphy and Ames’ own – would compound issues the couple already has with traffic on Sunday mornings, when the streets are clogged with parking that blocks their sight lines exiting their driveway.

Citing that, as well as the possibility of glare from headlights coming into their window, Murphy asked about the posibility of the driveway being moved to the other end of the property. 

It had been considered, said Catlin, but for several reasons, including that it would put the exit too close to the crosswalk, and an agreement with the purchaser of a single-family home that was once part of the property, and was subdivided after the church purchased it, included shared use of the driveway.

Hanlon suggested that the board continue the hearing to see if there was any way to address Murphy and Ames’ concerns, but the remainder of the board indicated they were prepared to take a vote on the application on Monday. The board ultimately approved the application, with only Hanlon opposed.

 

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 244 or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaariMLT.