February 26, 2020

Zoning board OKs business at site of former garage

PITTSFIELD — A conditional use permit was granted at the Thursday night meeting of the Pittsfield Board of Zoning Appeals to allow Fernand Kirouac to construct and operate a new facility for air conditioning, muffler and radiator repairs on Grove Hill.

The new facility will be constructed on the site of the former Pittsfield Tractor Sales that burned about eight years ago. According to Ronnie Friend, owner of the land, plans have been completed to sell the abandoned cars and trucks that have occupied the site since the fire. In addition, he said, the land will be sold to Kirouac for the construction of a 40-by-64-foot structure for a new business for the community.

“The junk has been there long enough,” Friend said. “It’s been an eyesore for too long, and it’s time to let go and provide an opportunity for new business and new tax revenue.”

Friend said the property would be split to allow Kirouac to build on the existing foundation, with the possibility that Friend could develop the remainder in some other way.

Members of the board apparently had no opposition to the plans, but questioned their legal role in the decision. Town Manager Dwight Dogherty explained why the request came to the appeals board under the non-conforming use portion of the zoning ordinances. The zone where the structure will be located is an R-4 zone, restricted to single- and two-family structures. Questions were raised about the “grandfather” aspects to the law because of the length of time the Friend family had operated a garage at that site.

Dogherty pointed out that although the garage structure had burned, an argument might be successful in saying the site had never stopped functioning as a commercial site because of the trucks left there.

There was no opposition expressed by abutters to the property.

Board members approved the conditional use permit placing size restrictions on the sign that could be constructed for the new business and requesting that all debris be stored inside or removed.

The board also heard, and approved, a request from Frank McGrady for a variance to construct a two-car garage at 6 Cianchette Ave.

Officers also were elected for the board making Bill Mann, chairman; Bob Beattie, vice chairman; and Mary Parsons, secretary.

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