Gym takes over appliance space

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Last modified: 3/21/2016 7:02:05 PM
The Be Fit Fitness Center is moving to a larger space less than a half-mile down the road.

The gym plans to take over Ken’s Appliance and Mattress on Dark Lane Road. It has an agreement to purchase the two-story building, according to a letter Marla Somero, owner of Be Fit, and Nels Traffie, her brother, provided the Zoning Board at its meeting March 10. The board later approved the gym relocation.

A majority of the five-member board found the gym is a nonconforming use equal to the impact the appliance and mattress store has on the neighborhood already. New Ipswich’s zoning ordinance gives the board the ability to waive a new business’s need for a special exception if it determines the business will have the same or less of an impact on the neighborhood as the property’s current use.

Chair Wendy Juchnevics-Freeman was the only dissenter.

“I don’t see how these two are remotely equal,” she said. “A mattress store with an apartment above is very different from a fitness center.”

She was particularly concerned about giving neighbors the chance to bring up any concerns they might have, and the board evaluating if the building’s septic system can handle a gym.

Be Fit is currently in the NeWest mall on Turnpike Road – a space Traffie and Somero said isn’t large enough.

Their proposal is for the gym to be on the bottom floor. The appliance and mattress store would be in half of the second floor until it sells all its remaining merchandise. The other half of the second floor would remain a three-bedroom apartment, they said.

The gym itself would have 20 to 25 members workout there each day, said Somero and Traffie. Its busiest hours are currently 7 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. They said they plan to move all the gym equipment they now own to the new location instead of buying more equipment. A chiropractor and a massage therapist would see patients there a few days a week, they said.

One of the board’s concerns was the capacity of the septic system. Could it handle a gym crowd? The septic system was built to support the three-bedroom apartment, according to Traffie. Somero’s plan includes installing a shower in the gym bathroom, which now has just a toilet and sink.

The board, Traffie and Somero ultimately agreed it would be Somero’s responsbility to fix or replace the septic system if it fails.

Benji Rosen can be reached at 924-7172 ext. 228, or Follow him on Twitter @BenjiRosenMLT.


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