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West End Market Permit Still in Effect
Tammy Daniels,
08:01PM / Monday, February 14, 2011

The Planning Board tries a new table configuration.

NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The owner of the West End Market has until 2012 to find a tenant after the city solicitor determined his special permit had not lapsed.

Barry Garton had expected to move his BrewHaHa cafe to the West Main Street location but found the renovation of the historic building ate up all his investment. Last month, he approached the Planning Board with a request to extend his special permit to give him time to find a leasee and to prevent the commercial building from reverting to residential.

Mick Callahan of Callahan Sign Co. holds a mock-up of new MCLA signs.

The board delayed a vote until it received a legal opinion on whether Garton's continued renovations since 2006 could be categorized as "substantial use" according to zoning ordinances.

The opinion of DeRosa Dohoney LLP was that the construction from 2006 to December 2010 could be considered substantial use. "Mr. Garton may seek a tenant for the property and seek a change in his permit once the tenant has been been secured," the letter states.

The Planning Board took no action since the special permit remains in effect for two years once "substantial use" ceases. Garton said he hoped to find a tenant.

The board approved new signage for Porter Street buildings owned by the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts Foundation. Chairman Michael Leary, who teaches an adjunct class at the college, abstained from participating.

"We put all these buildings in our admission materials as numbered buildings — 92 Porter, 100 Porter, 72 Porter — so having the sign on the building helps with our mission to people finding them," said James Stakenas, vice president of administration and finance. "They are also listing the departments in the buildings."

Mick Callahan of Callahan Sign Co. provided a mock-up of the design. Stakenas said a free-standing sign also would be installed at 132 Corinth St., the administration and finance office building.

In other business, the board:

•Reviewed a letter from Cariddi Auto Agency stating it had temporarily moved operations to Ernie's Auto Sales former location on Curran Highway. The business had suffered a devastating fire last month. Building Inspector William Meranti said all sales and dispatch service was at the new site but the tow trucks will be parked off-site and the impound lot would remain at the original location.

Michael Leary and Paul Hopkins laugh at Leary's 'opposition' to their re-election.

•Approved signage for the new RUB restaurant on Marshall Street in the former Gramercy Bistro location. Alexander "Sandy" Smith, chef-owner of Gramercy, which moved to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art campus, will operate the barbecue joint.

•Approved the application of Matthew Berger to open a musical instruction school with ancillary retail sales business at 40 Eagle St.

•Welcomed new members Joanne DeRose (again) and Brian Miksic. Re-elected Leary as chairman and Paul Hopkins as vice chairman of the board, and named Kyle Hanlon as representative to the Berkshire Regional Planning Commission. Leary's mispoken response to the vote, "show myself and Mr. Hopkins as opposed," ended the meeting with laughter.

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