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Peterborough

Toy store step closer to opening

Solution to buffer with neighbors removes obstacle; store could open in August

  • Renovations are under way at the Magic Flute Child store on the corner of Routes 101 and 202 in Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Renovations are under way at the Magic Flute Child store on the corner of Routes 101 and 202 in Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
  • Renovations are under way at the Magic Flute Child store on the corner of Routes 101 and 202 in Peterborough<br/><br/>(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)

PETERBOROUGH — Planning Board members have resolved a complaint about lack of screening behind the Magic Flute Child business that’s taking shape in the former gas station on the corner of Routes 101 and 202.

At a July 1 meeting, the board directed Magic Flute Child owner Jacqueline Goohs to submit a plan to plant a group of evergreen trees, no less than 6 feet tall and no more than 8 feet apart in the 30-foot buffer zone at the rear of the property, which borders an Ames Court residence owned by Jim and Paula Stewart. The board ruled that the work should be completed by the end of August.

During the remodeling of the building this spring, much of the existing vegetation in the buffer area had been removed. Goohs had proposed that she could erect a 6-foot high stockade fence along the property line. In a June 26 letter to the Planning Board, the Stewarts wrote that a fence would require additional cutting of pine trees between the two properties and would not provide adequate screening.

“We feel that the only way the vegetative screening can be brought back to its original condition is to plant a row of tall growing shrubs or evergreens, similar to what the Planning Board required in the original site plan,” the Stewarts wrote. They asked for a 6-foot high continuous stockade fence near the boundary line but on the side of the row of pine trees that faces the Magic Flute Child building, with a row of quick growing evergreens planted on the Magic Flute Child side of the fence.

At the July 1 meeting, Planning Board member Ivy Vann said having a fence that would have to be placed about 10 feet inside the property line would be complicated.

“I’m not in love with a fence,” Vann said. “My sense is to bring in some shrubbery.”

Stewart told the board that after vegetation had been removed, a section of the property in back of the building had been leveled as well.

“It’s almost as if they’ve prepared that area for picnic tables,” he said. “I think a fence and evergreens are appropriate.”

Board Chair Joel Harrington noted that the level area was not part of the buffer zone between the two properties.

Goohs said she intends to use the land at the back of the property in some manner, but has no immediate plan for the area.

“People have a right to the use of their property,” Vann said.

The board rejected the idea of requiring a fence, but their ruling calling for plantings of evergreens in the buffer zone required that the plantings extend for the full length of the back of the lot where it abuts Ames Court residential properties.

After the meeting, Stewart said he was satisfied with the decision, which will require a plan for the plantings to be submitted and approved by the Planning Board.

On Friday, Goohs said she thought the decision was fair.

“I’m happy they won’t restrict my use of the property,” she said.

Goohs said she is hoping to have the section of the building that was formerly the office space for the gas station open for business later this month, once renovations are complete and she receives an occupancy permit. That area, she said, will be where ice cream and gelato will be sold, for customers to take outside to chairs and tables in a patio area.

The larger section of the building, which formerly housed the garage’s bays for auto repair, is being cleaned and renovated as space for the clothing and children’s toys that Magic Flute Child carries. The two entrances to the garage, now covered with tarps, will be replaced with large windows, Goohs said.

She said she wants to be able to open the clothing and toys section of the building some time in August.

Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or danderson@ledgertranscript.com. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.

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