Hadley ZBA OKs 2 items for senior center project

  • The Hadley Senior Community Center and Goodwin Memorial Library. GAZETTE FILE PHOTO

Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 12, 2018

HADLEY — A new senior center building will be able to have underground propane tanks and can be built on the Middle Street property where it has been located in a former school building, based on recent decisions by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

But at its June 7 meeting, the ZBA postponed considering a variance for allowing the new building to have a standing-seam metal roof, which is otherwise prohibited in the historic overlay district.

The Senior Center Building Committee made the three requests in advance of the site plan review hearing before the Planning Board June 19. That meeting will be held at Hopkins Academy at 7 p.m.

ZBA Chairman John Kokoski said the board should not make a decision on the variance for the roof until after the Planning Board meeting. The historic overlay district requires shingle roof design.

David Berson, an attorney with Bacon Wilson, LP of Amherst who has been hired to represent the building committee, said the ZBA is the board that can provide this relief.

Building Commissioner Timothy Neyhart said the metal roof will provide an opportunity to attach solar panels, making the building less expensive to heat and power and ensuring that the municipal building can be energy efficient.

The ZBA granted a favorable finding for using the same site as the one where the Hooker building has been located for more than a century, even though the property falls nearly 15 feet short of the required 175-foot frontage.

The property would continue to be used for municipal purposes and would be no more detrimental to the neighborhood, based on the finding.

The 2.6-acre site will be used for both the senior center and a new library that would be built where the Hooker building is when it is demolished.

The variance gives the senior center the ability to have propane tanks. The new library will not need underground tanks since it will be connected to Berkshire Gas.

The ZBA will next meet June 21.

Though the ZBA decisions continue advancing the project, the senior center project still faces a lawsuit from the American Legion Post 271, with part of the land it will use having been used for many years as its overflow parking.

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