GROTON -- It was smooth sailing for a pair of long-running projects last week as both just missed having their public hearings closed by the Planning Board.
There was a slight hiccup, however, with the public hearing devoted to a special permit application by restaurateur George Pergantis when the businessman complained that the board was taking too long in its review of his project.
"Somebody's against me, I don't know who," said Pergantis following a decision by the board to continue the public hearing on his plan to convert the existing carriage house on his 124 Main St. property into a seafood restaurant.
Pergantis went on to say that he felt the board did not care about his plight, forced upon him after the Groton Inn burned to the ground last year.
The restaurateur told the board at its meeting of Oct. 25 that he has spent the last eight months trying to get his plan for a seafood restaurant approved and that his money was quickly running out. So demoralized had he become that he felt like just giving up and leaving town.
"I'm sorry you feel that way," replied board chairman John Giger, who went on to explain that the board was just doing its job and making sure the application conformed with the town's zoning regulations.
As it was, Pergantis' application, the second that he has filed following the withdrawal of an earlier effort, has moved quickly through the review process, prompting board members to briefly consider closing the public hearing at last week's meeting.
But it was determined that a number of details were still outstanding, including the disposition of a disused pool on the property, the resituating of a dumpster planned for the restaurant, lighting and landscaping. There was even a question of whether shrubbery at the front of the property was an invasive species or not.
In addition, there was the lack of a detailed seating plan needed to figure out how many parking spaces the restaurant would require.
However, the review process was clearly moving into its final stage as board members voted to continue last week's public hearing until Nov. 15.
Moving quickly forward as well was the public hearing process for a new Center Fire Station being proposed by the town for land off Farmers Row.
For that, Town Manager Mark Haddad and representatives from the architectural firm of Dorn & Whittier told board members how they have addressed concerns raised about the project in a previous meeting.
Engineer John Perry pointed out that changes to the site plan included increasing the turn radius at the entrance of the facility's driveway onto Farmers Row, the addition of signage warning traffic on the street of the possibility of trucks entering the road, the removal of ornamental plants from the front of the property at the request of the Historic Districts Commission and the substitution of more natural plants instead.
In the meantime, Haddad informed the board that the Conservation Commission had approved the project's sewer plans as had the Stormwater Advisory Committee on drainage.
Satisfied, board members were on the verge of closing the public hearing portion of the site-plan review process when it was decided to keep it open in case more information was needed.
In the meantime, planning administrator Michelle Collette was instructed to move forward and prepare a draft special permit listing possible conditions to be added to the document.
The proposed fire station is to include a four-bay garage and two-story administration complex with offices on the first floor; fitness room, dormitory, kitchen, dining room, and day room planned for the second floor; and HVAC and other mechanical equipment to be placed in the third-floor "attic" space.
Last week's public hearing was continued until the board's meeting of Nov. 8.