Dublin ZBA approves new arts and events center on Route 101

  • Mary McDowell received approvals to open an arts and cultural center on Route 101 in Dublin during a ZBA hearing on Thursday evening in the Dublin Town Hall. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

  • Mary McDowell received approvals to open an arts and cultural center on Route 101 in Dublin during a ZBA hearing on Thursday evening in the Dublin Town Hall. Staff photo by Ashley Saari—

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Published: 7/26/2021 3:36:37 PM

A new arts center and event function hall has been approved for Route 101 in Dublin.

Harrisville artist Mary McDowell plans to renovate the empty Window Master building to show art, hold classes and concerts, plays and poetry readings, as well as events like wedding receptions.

“We want to bring back something of the late, lamented Folkway, and the opportunity Sharon Arts presented for artists to not only do their art, but to network,” McDowell told the Dublin Zoning Board of Adjustment on Thursday.

McDowell was appearing before the board Thursday seeking two special exceptions to resume commercial activity on the site, as Window Master has not been in use for more than a year, and to run an arts center, a use allowed by special exception in the area.

The public who attended the meeting, as well as 22 letters submitted to the board, were unanimously in support of the project. Multiple people involved in the local artistic community attended Thursday’s hearing to express the need for such a space.

The plan calls for a total of 55 parking spaces, and the facility can hold up to 200 people at a time. While McDowell said there may be some events, such as receptions, that have that high attendance, the majority of events will be significantly smaller. All events will conclude by 11 p.m. And, she said, all events will be either ticketed, by reservation, or by invitation.

“We are not set up for unexpected crowd sizes,” McDowell said. “I know no one wants to see Disney Land on the highway.”

McDowell said she hopes to see the center “bustling with activity, on a gentle level.”

After more than an hour and a half of public comment and presentation by McDowell, the board voted 4-0 to conditionally approve both special exception applications.

Conditions attached to the approval include requirements that the bank along the parking area be graded and stabilized with natural plantings, that the parking lot have a 35-foot setback from the property lines, that snow removal be stored to the eastern part of the property, lighting shielded, and that for larger events, traffic be directed and monitored.


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