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Zoning Board Approves K of C Hall Renovation

An engineer's plan submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals shows the parking and landscaping at the former Knights of Columbus Hall on Cedar Street (Route 85) after it is converted into an athletic training and indoor recreation facility.



The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted on April 14 to approve renovating the former Knights of Columbus Hall at 49 Cedar St. (Route 85) into an athletic training and indoor recreation facility. The special permit was needed to change from one non-conforming use – the building was last used as a banquet hall called the "Century House" – to another.

Local mixed martial arts fighter Jorge Rivera plans to locate a training facility on the upper floor of the building, and yoga studios would be located on the lower floor, attorney Joseph Antonellis told the ZBA. There will be no changes to the size of the building or its exterior, he said. The athletic facility will operate from 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. seven days each week, the lawyer explained.

"The property, as you know, has long been a function hall," Antonellis said. "We're in a neighborhood that's surrounded by residents." Route 85 Realty Corp. owner Kevin Meehan will do the building renovations, which include landscaping and narrowing the Cedar St. entrance, the attorney said. "All of the investment in this building is coming from Mr. Meehan," Antonellis added.

ZBA member John Dagnese said several tractor-trailer trucks now park overnight at the site, and questioned if that would continue. Owner Meehan has not given any permission for that parking, Antonellis said. He answered board member Mary Carlson's concerns about lighting bothering the residential neighborhood y saying the owner is willing to have any lighting plans reviewed.

Questioned by neighbor Paul Tangusso of Cedarview Circle about the number of expected patrons and where they would be parking, Antonellis said there are 56 parking spaces, which should accommodate the roughly 30 people at a time who are expected to take classes. Tangusso also asked if loud workout music would be played, and Rivera answered that it would not.

Another neighbor, Richard Acquafresca of Cedar St., said every area resident he had spoken with favored the proposal before the ZBA because it would clean up the property. "It is an eyesore driving down Route 85 every day," he said.

The ZBA's unanimous approval came with several conditions: the special permit will run with the applicant, not the land; lighting and landscaping must be approved by Town Engineer Michael Santora; operating hours are limited to 6 a.m. to 10:30 p.m.; and – as the Planning Board requested – there will be no alcoholic beverages served at the facility.

Also on April 14, the ZBA unanimously granted special permits to Central Street Auto Repair, Inc. for auto and truck sales and service at 63 Central St. – subject to the same conditions imposed on previous businesses located there – and to Ronaldo Campos of 3 Beach St. to allow the sale of two used cars at his current auto detailing business.

Chairman Laura Mann said that the Personnel Board had given the ZBA permission on April 11 to hire a part-time clerk as needed to prepare application packages for board members. To fund this new position in the coming fiscal year, the ZBA would have to raise its application fee from the current $200 to either $250 or $300, she explained.




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