A developer planning to build storage units and a covered parking structure on a vacant lot on East Third Street between Lundy and Lincoln avenues received some necessary approvals Monday.
The Salem Board of Zoning Appeals granted a conditional use permit for JB Synergy Group to build the 12-unit storage facility at the rear of the lot and approved variances of 17.6 feet for the rear yard and 7.6 feet for the front of the lot where the parking structures will be built to fit 12 vehicles.
The normal requirement is 20 feet for a rear setback and 10 feet for a front setback for a property located within the C-2 General Commercial Zone District.
Plans call for the construction of two covered parking structures with a roof, sides and rear wall to fit a dozen vehicles.
JB Synergy Group has a signed purchase agreement for the empty parcel where some residents are already parking their vehicles off of an alley.
The board granted approval contingent upon the developer complying with all of the city's zoning codes and requirements, but only after questioning the company representatives about their plans regarding lighting, snow removal, water runoff and what materials they plan to use for the construction.
Brandon Davis of JB Synergy Group explained that their plan is to beautify the area and make it useful for residents in the neighborhood, which is mostly rental properties. People park there already and this way they'll have covered off-street parking and a place for storage. He said they want the structures to "blend in" with the neighborhood, with plans for monitored security.
Board Chairman Mark Pietrzak questioned the type of building materials planned and whether they had done a water runoff study, explaining the board's concern is with the neighbors' property values and the value of the property in question. He also said one of the complaints they usually get from residents concerns lighting and whether it's going to be intrusive.
Board member John Panezott questioned whether there would be enough room for snow removal. Approval of the variances only left a front yard of 2.6 feet and a rear yard of 2.6 feet.
Davis asked a few of his own questions regarding some of the requirements, such as a hard pavement and not gravel for the lot and whether there was language regarding the lighting requirements. Board Secretary Bob Merry noted that it's all spelled out in the zoning code.
Vice Chairman Tim Baillie said he felt uncomfortable that a lot of the issues being brought up were not addressed in the plans submitted, saying he wanted more detail, with board member Harry Conn suggesting maybe the group should look at the zoning and come back with more information.
Housing-Planning & Zoning Officer Patrick Morrissey told board members the report was as complete as possible and all those issues they were bringing up could be put on as conditions.
"You make the requirements," he said.
Baillie noted that all around the property is mostly residential and commented that every resident in town deserves the same protection given to everybody.
Panezott pointed out that all they're asking for is the setbacks and the conditional use. He said they won't be able to put the buildings up if they don't adhere to the building code and zoning code.
Morrissey said they'll need a state permit for the units and a storm water runoff study and they'll have to follow
the city requirements.
When asked about the project, Davis said plans call for monthly fees for the parking and the storage units. He and James Fisher, also with JB Synergy Group, estimated construction could be completed sometime in 2014.
In another matter, the board approved a rear yard variance of 7 feet requested by Ann Greenisen to construct a rear deck on a condominium at 1922-A Maple St, leaving 18 feet between the structure and the rear property line. The zoning code normally requires 25 feet for the rear yard in an RA Multiple-Family Residential Zone District. According to what she submitted, the condominium association was okay with the plans.
The board also re-elected officers for 2013, keeping the same slate as the previous year. Pietrzak will continue to serve as chairman, with Baillie serving as vice chairman and Merry serving as secretary. Other members of the board include Panezott and Conn.
Mary Ann Greier can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org