Claremont Board Calls for Safety Study

Valley News Correspondent
Published: 5/2/2016 11:45:21 PM
Modified: 5/2/2016 11:45:24 PM

Claremont — The Zoning Board of Adjustment voted Monday night to require a safety study to validate that a turning lane is needed on Washington Street at the entrance to a proposed senior housing complex.

Property owners Wayne and Jean McCutcheon are prepared to construct roughly 70 senior housing units on 18 acres in a rural residential zone, but in order to do so they need a variance reducing the lot size for each unit to 10,000 square feet (a quarter acre) from 30,000 square feet (three-quarters of an acre).

The board wants the safety study done before it decides on the variance. The turning lane would be for cars coming from the west and turning left into the complex. Before asking for the traffic safety study, the board also inquired about the demand for the one- and two-bedroom units.

“I’m just concerned about approving this project (and) then you not being able to fill them up,” said ZBA member Tracy Pope, who asked Wayne McCutcheon whether he had conducted any studies supporting his belief there would be sufficient demand for the housing from people 55 and over.

McCutcheon said demographics show there would be demand from baby boomers in the 55 to 62 age range who may be retired or preparing to retire. He also gave a presentation at the senior center on the complex earlier this year and said he had inquiries after that.

“I’m quite comfortable the need is there for people to live in a community that supports itself without being subsidized,” McCutcheon said. “If you build it, they will come.”

The board also voted to require an updated site plan from Sandra Holl, who is looking to reopen her family’s restaurant, B.J. Brickers, which was located in the Claremont Plaza on Washington Street. The restaurant closed in 2013, but an easement with the plaza owners that allowed Brickers to use some of the spaces in the plaza for parking lapsed last year. The plaza owners do not want to negotiate a new easement, so Holl is seeking a variance from the ZBA to reduce the required parking.

Holl told the board she had the required 25 spaces for the 100-seat restaurant on its nearly half-acre parcel and presented the board with a 1995 map she said was the most recent site plan, but she also said she would need a variance.

The board requires a new site plan depicting the spaces Holl is claiming exists along with updated drawings of the building.

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