GROTON — The Planning Board voted to close a public hearing on the site plan review process for a karate studio proposed for a location at 306 Main St.
The proposal by Michael Luth, owner of Luth Karate Studio, was first brought before the board earlier in the year before becoming bogged down in disagreement over parking spaces shared between 306 Main St. and next door Workers’ Credit Union.
Planning to relocate his karate studio into a building at 306 Main St., Luth has proposed building an 1,800 square-foot addition to the existing structure, a situation that quickly drew the attention of Workers Credit Union that shares a 36 space parking lot with him.
Although Luth assured board members at a previous meeting that even though the town’s zoning regulations require him to have at least 17 parking spaces for the size of his building, the most he would ever need was really 10.
Luth said at the time that due to the small amount of time his business hours would overlap with those of the bank, there would never be a problem with a lack of parking spaces.
That assurance however, was contested by the bank, represented at the time by attorney John Gallant, who said that though his client had no objection to Luth’s business, its primary concern remained the availability of parking and traffic.
Since that time, the two parties were to have retreated to hammer out a mutually agreed upon solution to the shared parking situation and Luth duly arrived at the board’s meeting of Aug. 9 prepared to limit his parking needs to 10 spaces.
Bank representative David Rogers however, told the board that the parking issue had still not been completely resolved between his employer and Luth.
That said, Rogers insisted that the bank wanted nothing more than to be good neighbors with the karate studio and come to some agreement to share the spaces and maintain the parking lot.
But complicating the problem was a third neighbor, the office of Dr. Jay Decoteau, that also shared access from Main Street through the parking area and who earlier joined the bank in a traffic study.
Decoteau told the board that he was concerned about the security of his rights of access but board members were wary of wading in those waters deciding that such issues did not come under their jurisdiction but instead needed to be addressed legally by the owners themselves.
At that point, Rogers said that past legal opinion sought by the bank had found that all was well between the parties and that any access was not threatened.
After Rogers polled Decoteau and Luth on their willingness to cooperate with the bank to mutually share parking and access with all agreeing they had nothing but good intentions toward one another, board members voted to close the public hearing.
Planning administrator Michelle Collette was then instructed to draft an order of conditions for a final vote approving Luth’s site plan that was scheduled for Aug. 23.
Also, the board voted to approve special permit modifications to a pair of 120-foot cell towers operated by telecommunications giant Sprint.
According to Sprint representative Peter LaMontagne, the company planned to replace six antennas at its tower located at 550 Main St. along with utility cabinets and installation of a fiber distribution box.
The same improvements were also planned for Sprint’s tower at 47 Prescott St.