Parking for new senior center, library concerns Hadley Planning Board

  • The Hadley Senior Community Center and Goodwin Memorial Library. Plans are in the works to build a new senior center and library to be built on a 2.6-acre site in town center behind the former Hooker School, the current home of the senior center. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Friday, July 27, 2018

HADLEY — Whether the town-owned property that will be used as the site of a new senior center and municipal library is large enough to provide sufficient parking remains a concern for members of the Planning Board reviewing the two projects.

At the second hearing July 17 on the site plans for the proposed $7.1 million, 12,050-square-foot senior center, attorney Thomas Reidy of Bacon Wilson PC of Amherst told the board that the library and senior center combined will not meet the town bylaws that require twice as much parking area as the square footage of the buildings.

Still, Reidy said that the two projects are “adequately parked” and, while the senior center will comply with this regulation, the new library will not. But when the library project comes up for its site plan review, Reidy said he will cite the Dover Amendment, a state law that allows buildings with educational, religious and agricultural use to be exempt from certain zoning rules.

While Reidy said he disputes that the zoning requirement applies to municipal uses, the library will have 33 parking spaces for patrons, and two spaces for employees.

The limited parking on the 2.6-acre site — located in town center behind the former Hooker School — being used for both buildings could pose challenges in other ways.

Department of Public Works Superintendent Marlo Warner has said that his workers will remove snow from the site when storms are big enough that snow can’t be pushed to the sides of the lot.

Board member Joseph Zgrodnik requested that Warner provide a letter explicitly stating that this will be the responsibility of the DPW, and also describe where that snow will be taken.

Before voting on the plans, board member John Mieckzowski said he wants to have details about how the American Legion Post 271 lawsuit against the town has been resolved, and to get a copy of any agreement signed and submitted to the Hampshire County Registry of Deeds.

Last month, town officials announced that they had reached a deal with the Legion after being sued in Land Court, with the Legion hoping to continue using an overflow parking lot on town-owned land that would become part of the senior center project.

But Planning Board Clerk William Dwyer said attorney KP Law informed the board it doesn’t need information about the lawsuit resolution to grant approval.

Even with some lingering concerns, Chairman James Maksimoski said that the board could have taken a vote on the senior center project, but didn’t because Berkshire Design Group failed to submit a peer review of the two projects. Earlier, Berkshire Design provided a peer review for just the senior center building, and didn’t identify any issues with the engineering.

The board will meet again July 31 in the basement of the current senior center at the Hooker School Building — which will eventually be demolished to make way for the library — when it is expected to make a decision.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.