Planning Board approves car crash repairs, other proposal withdrawn

Jun 17, 2019

Tensions ran high at the Planning Board meeting on June 17 as the board approved one plan to repair a Dartmouth Street building that had been hit by a car, but was unable to approve a plan to modify a site on Ventura Drive.

Christian Farland had planned to make some minor changes to his property — a warehouse and office building — at 21 Ventura Drive in order to accommodate a potential new tenant, a dance studio.

The board had decided at their June 3 meeting to consult town counsel to determine if changing the use of the building triggered strict new building standards, with which the plans did not comply.

At Monday’s meeting, Farland’s attorney John Markey gave an impassioned speech referencing Les Miserables character Javert and noting that his client made every attempt to be “as compliant as possible” with the higher standards.

“You are the arbiters of what is a good project,” he reminded the board.

Attorney Gregory Koldys — representing neighbors Bay State Gymnastics — also spoke at the meeting.

He said that his clients were concerned with traffic on an already-congested street and voiced the opinion that there wouldn’t be enough parking to accommodate the dance studio.

Assistant Town Counsel Brian Cruise ultimately advised the board that according to a previous decision taken last October, change of use in a building does in fact trigger the more stringent building standards.

As the board had a letter from zoning stating that it was a change of use, it was therefore unable to approve the plan.

Farland said that the decision was “pretty disappointing.”

“This board has acted — if you ask me — incompetent,” he said before withdrawing his application.

Another application to repair and renovate 603 Dartmouth Street — which had been hit by a car last November — was approved, as the board noted that it was not a change of use.

The building used to be the Family Hair Connection, and is set to become a dog grooming business after construction is completed.