Plan for downtown building unveiled
Proposed development along Nubanusit River would include apartments, offices and restaurant space
The 36 Grove Street building, seen here from across the Nubanusit River, as it looks today.
(Staff photo by Dave Anderson)
A drawing shows what the 36 Grove Street building might look like after a renovation by developers Stan Fry and Cy Gregg. This view shows the side of the building that faces the Nubanusit River.
Courtesy of Leonard Pagano, AIA
PETERBOROUGH — Planners have begun the review process on a plan to renovate the former Fireplace Village store at 36 Grove Street into a mixed-use building with four apartments on the upper floors and retail space on the lower levels.
At a Planning Board meeting Monday, architect Len Pagano of Peterborough, representing building owners Stan Fry and Cy Gregg, showed the board floor plans and elevations for the building, which sits next to the Nubanusit River across from the town’s Post Office. The building, which was home to businesses selling wood stoves and home heating equipment for many years, has been vacant for several months and was recently purchased by Fry and Gregg, who own the neighboring buildings in Depot Square.
“Our concept is not to alter the building in a significant way,” Pagano said at the start of his presentation. “The existing wood timber frame would be retained. The biggest change is to add dormers.”
Under the plan being proposed, which Pagano said is still subject to revision, the 12,800-square-foot building would have three apartments — a 1,800-square-foot two-bedroom unit on the Grove Street side of the building and two smaller one-bedroom units in back — on the second floor. A large three-bedroom apartment would take the entire attic level, with lighting provided by five new dormers.
The ground level would have retail space similar to what has been in the building. The basement level, accessed from Depot Square, would contain office space and retail space.
“We’d like the option to have a restaurant there,” Pagano told the board.
An addition off the northeast corner of the building would have two one-car garage spaces on the lowest level, topped by a rooftop terrace at the first floor level. In answer to a question from the Planning Board, Cy Gregg said the owners intend that the roof garden, which would be accessible both from the building and by a walkway alongside the building, would be public space.
A tower that’s part of the addition would hold a stairway leading to the upper floors, and the plans show a clock on the outside of the tower, facing Depot Square.
Much of the discussion at the meeting concerned plans for parking. Town regulations would require eight dedicated parking spaces — two per residential unit and two more based on the amount of retail and office floor space. The applicants are asked for a waiver from that requirement. Their plan calls for four spaces — two in the ground-floor garage and two outdoor spaces next to the building that houses the Sharon Art Gallery and is also owned by Gregg and Fry. Those spaces would be designated as residential parking.
“We feel this is a reasonable request,” Pagano said about the waiver. “There are very few cars parked there overnight.”
While noting that many of the items on its site plan review checklist had not yet been submitted, board members voted to accept the application so that the review process could begin. They then discussed the parking issue.
Board member Tom Weeks questioned whether the board had the authority to waive parking requirements. Board member Ivy Vann said they did.
“The parking that’s currently existing is compatible with this particular use,” said Vann. “I’m comfortable that four parking spaces is enough.”
Vann moved that the board waive the parking requirement “such that four and only four spaces will be required. These four spaces must be on the plan as dedicated for the residential use of this building.” The board ultimately voted, with only Weeks dissenting, to grant the waiver.
Board members agreed that either a lot line adjustment or a right-of-way easement would be necessary, since the addition that would hold the garage overlaps the adjacent property, which is also owned by Gregg and Fry. They said the owners would have to make sure that all the parking, including the outdoor spaces, is legally linked to the lot where the building stands, in case ownership changes in the future.
The board did not think there was any reason for the applicants to go before the Zoning Board of Adjustment.
During the public comment portion of the meeting, Colleen Stone, who said she was representing Roger and Allison Cabana, owners of the neighboring building that houses Joseph’s Coat, said the Cabanas supported the project and were involved in discussions about the details of a walkway that Fry and Gregg plan to build between the two buildings that would replace the driveway that’s there now.
The board continued the hearing until its next meeting on Dec. 10 when it will hear additional public comment, review the checklist again and begin deliberations if possible.
Dave Anderson can be reached at 924-7172, ext. 233 or firstname.lastname@example.org. He’s on Twitter at @DaveAndersonMLT.