Coffee shop at Noone Falls plans move

  • Mason Parker of Parker House Coffee speaks to the Peterborough Zoning Board of Adjustment about moving his cafe and coffee roasting business to 166 Hancock Road. STAFF PHOTO BY ASHLEY SAARI

Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Thursday, July 05, 2018 10:15AM

The Peterborough Zoning Board of Adjustment granted a request for a special exception Monday to allow Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting to move from its current location on Route 202 to Hancock Road, next to the high school.

Mason Parker, who owns Parker and Sons Coffee Roasting, a cafe and coffee roasting business in Peterborough, told the zoning board he began looking for an alternative location after businesses in Noone Falls were told they would be moved to month-to-month leases, after the location was put up for sale.

“I decided I wanted to definitely stay in Peterborough. I have a lot of customers here,” Parker said.

The location Parker wants to move to is 166 Hancock Road, located near the ConVal High School, EMS and the Vose Farm business park, in the building that formerly housed Monadnock Orthodontics.

“There’s not a cafe on that end of town. It’s quite suitable for us,” Parker said.

He said he’d like to be able to have the cafe up and running before the start of school in the fall.

Several neighbors in the area, most of whom live on Colonial Square, a complex across Route 202 from the proposed location, said they worried about the smell from the coffee roasting portion of Parker’s business would become a neighborhood nuisance.

“Based on conversations with residents that are near the current shop, we’ve been told there’s an odor from the coffee roasting that’s putrid, and we’re closer to where the shop will be than that resident,” said Elizabeth Kenney, who lives on 28 Colonial Square.

“I would like to say I enjoy your coffee very much, but I have been in there when you’re roasting, and it does smell bad,” said another Colonial Square resident Polly Carll.

Another Colonial Square resident, Joe Ierna, argued that scent was subjective, and that he’d enjoyed the smell of roasting coffee before, and that any negatives would be outweighed by having a coffee shop in the neighborhood.

“I think I’m delighted at the possibility of having a coffee shop. I think there’s a communal benefit,” he said.

Selectwoman Karen Hatcher, who works at the Cornucopia Project in the Vose Farm business park, agreed that she’d like the option of a nearby coffee shop that didn’t require her to drive down to the town center. 

“It’s lovely to have an option close by,” she said.

When questioned on how invasive the scent would be for neighbors, Parker told the board that the cafe has become an increasingly large portion of his business, and that typically, he only roasts for a few hours on an average of twice a week. He could be flexible on when those times are, he said, and was willing to work with the neighbors to attempt to do the roasting when it would be least offensive, such as not on weekends, or during work hours when fewer people are home. 

“I’m very flexible and can work with my neighbors. I can adjust,” he said.

Sharon Monahan, an alternate member of the ZBA who had been seated as a full member for the hearing, questioned if there was something Parker might do to mitigate the smells, such as buying an air purifier or the board placing restrictions on the hours he could do his roasting. 

Parker said installing an air purifier that would do anything to dispel the smell would be prohibitively expensive, and likely not fully effective. He did not raise an objection to having restrictions placed on roasting hours, but the remainder of the board did not feel there was sufficient evidence provided to prove a significant hardship on the neighborhood.

“I’m very reluctant to pose any conditions of that kind,” said zoning board chairman Dario Carrara.

The board voted 4-1 to approve the special exception to allow the cafe to operate on Hancock Road, with Monahan voting against. There were no conditions in the approval that would limit Parker’s business practices.


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