The owner of the 2 Central Avenue property, that for many years was the Black Bass restaurant, landed the zoning variance he needed to erect a two-story mixed-use building on the site.
By Robin Jovanovich
The owner of the 2 Central Avenue property, that for many years was the Black Bass restaurant, landed the zoning variance he needed to erect a two-story mixed-use building on the site. The property has been vacant and in disrepair for close to a decade.
Rye’s Building Inspector had denied the owner, the Deerfield Road Group, a building permit because his application did not comply with City Code requirements.
The applicant filed an appeal to the Zoning Board last fall, requesting significant variances — a 48% increase over maximum permitted F.A.R. and a 10 parking space variance — in order to construct a two-story building with retail on the first floor and two second floor apartments.
Neighbors of the property attended one or more of the four Zoning meetings at which the application was reviewed between November and March. A number of residents voiced their concern that the building would have a negative impact on the neighborhood, especially the already limited parking and difficult egress in that strip.
In the end, Zoning concluded that the detriment to the neighborhood was outweighed by the benefit to the applicant. They set one condition, however, that no cooking or food preparation for resale would be allowed at the location without the permission of the Planning Commission.
When asked about the decision, ZBA chair Alan Weil responded, “I have nothing to say about the Central Avenue decision. Regarding any ZBA decision, the public record speaks for itself.”
The owner has filed for a demolition permit, reported City Planner Christian Miller at the most recent Planning Commission meeting.
The parking variance struck many in town as imprudent. Martha McGuire, owner of Post Road Market across the street, asked, “How could they approve just four parking spots, one of them handicapped only, for a retail space with two apartments above?”