The Hamilton Planning Board wants another chance get answers to its questions about plans to sell used cars at in downtown Hamilton.
Mike’s is looking for a permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals , just north of the Wenham town line. While the ZBA will make the final decision, the Planning Board also has a say through the site plan review process, which includes review of things such as parking and site layout.
Initially, a plan outlining how the used cars will be arranged on the property , Jim Kroesser of Hamilton, but the Planning Board said that was not good enough. The Zoning Board later said it, too, wanted a plan drawn by a certified professional.
Last week, , and ZBA chairman Bill Bowler, in turn, told the Planning Board that it now had a professionally drawn plan in hand.
“He was looking and inviting your second opinion at this time,” said Planning Coordinator Kristine Cheetham told the Planning Board at its Wednesday night meeting, later adding; “I think he opened the door for some action or opinion from your board.”
The latest plan shows room for two fewer used cars for sale – 10 instead of 12.
“We should consider that he has maxed this out,” said board member Joe Orlando, noting the zoning board could do more than simply approve or deny the application.
Board chairman Peter Clark said the latest plan showed some improvements and additions based on the board’s feedback from its previous review. He did not feel that anyone representing Mike’s needed to return before the board.
“I think that is just rubbing salt in the wound,” Clark said. “I don’t think that is necessary.”
Rick Mitchell, a Planning Board member, said the board had the option of requesting that the application come back before it, since a new plan had been submitted.
“I think (Bowler) knows he has a hot potato and is trying to toss it around,” Mitchell said.
But the Planning Board outlined several concerns it still had, including that no handicapped parking space is outlined on the plan, concerns about the flow of traffic on the site and the possibility of putting in a sidewalk in front.
Ed Howard, a Planning Board member, suggested that Mike’s possibly suggest constructing a sidewalk in front of the business along Route 1A “for the benefit of the town.” The board may view that as mitigation and consider it in making a determination on the plan.
Board member Brian Stein said that would possibly eliminate entirely the ability for Mike’s to display used car along the front of the property because cars would not be able to drive across the front of the property.
Howard, who owns a business in downtown Essex where new sidewalks were recently installed, said while six-foot wide sidewalks are generally approved, four-foot wide sidewalks are still acceptable to meet modern handicapped access regulations.
Howard said the decorative plants lined up along the front of the business used to be in the state highway right-of-way but have been moved back and are now entirely on Mike’s property.
But Clark suggested that the public has always been able to walk along the road in front of the business until the planters were installed.
“My opinion is that they are still occupying the public sidewalk,” Clark said.
The sidewalk ends at neighboring , and there the sidewalk in not on the state highway property and instead on Talbots land, according to Mike’s professionally drawn plan.
Clark also suggested that pedestrian safety should be addressed in front of the property, at 17 Bay Road.
“(Pedestrians) have to go out in the street to get around all that constipation,” he said.
The board voted unanimously to request that a representative from Mike’s return before the board at its August meeting.