February 28 2019

Plan for New Handicap Parking at Human Services Stalled

By: Thaddeus Stephanak

New handicap parking spots at the Human Services Building that had been in the works will not happen this year.

As one of his final duties in his role as head of town government, Town Administrator John Petrin was before the Planning Board for a site plan approval of more parking spaces at the Human Services Building.

About a year ago the town put forth a plan to alleviate parking issues at the Human Services Building and the adjacent Grand View Farm facility as well as address parking concerns at the nearby Grand View Commons senior housing. The proposal was to create parking by paving over the grassy area in front the Human Services Building.

During the meeting on February 21, Planning Board members expressed hesitation with the plan because it would eliminate the small amount of green space on the property. The practice of the board, they said, is to treat the town’s request just like they would a request from a business. Members said they would not allow a business to come in with a plan to simply remove green space and so they felt they had to hold the town to the same standards.

Petrin told the board that resources have been spent on the parking plan based on approval by five Planning Board members a year earlier. He added that he would take the issue back to the Board of Selectmen for further consideration.

This past Monday, Petrin informed the Board of Selectmen the renovations to the actual Human Service Building are nearly complete but that part of the project all along had been to lay out new parking in front of building, which the Planning Board did not approve. He outlined the Planning Board’s resistance to the elimination of the green space.

Petrin advised the selectmen to seek outside assistance to help form a committee to determine the handicap parking situation at the facility and what might be done that would be approved by the Planning Board. He added that due to this hiccup the project would be on hold for the duration of 2019 at least.  

“We won’t make construction season this year,” he said. “Many of us were looking forward to seeing additional parking but it won’t happen this year.”

Board of Selectmen Vice-Chair Bob Hogan, acting as chair in the absence of Chairman Chris Hartling, asked that staff come up with suggestions for the committee that could be reviewed at the next Board of Selectmen meeting on March 11.



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