2018-10-25 / Around Town

Zoning Board Approves House at Former Asterisk Site

By James Merolla

The Asterisk restaurant is coming down and a new house is going up on Thames Street.

The Zoning Board of Review unanimously approved the petition of Patrick O’Leary, applicant, and PJO Properties, LLC, owner, for a special-use permit and a variance to the dimensional and density requirements for permission to demolish the restaurant and construct a 2.5-story, two-family dwelling with a third-floor deck at 599 Thames Street.

Girard Galvin, counsel to the board, said that a two-family home, through a variance, is allowed by right.

“This has been before us for some time,” said Zoning Chair Christopher Kirwin, who said he liked the reduced size of the proposed home in the newest plan and that it would be owner-occupied. “It is better than what we have seen before us previously. I do think it is going to be a great improvement.”

But other board members weren’t as enthusiastic. “I have a lot of problems and hesitations,” board member Robert Buzard said. “From Day One, there were problems with the size of the lot. [But] what they have originally proposed has been scaled back significantly. While I am voting in favor of this, I feel this is a slippery slope.”

Board members Bart Grimes and Wick Rudd cited Galvin’s opinion as swaying their vote in favor.

“The proposed use is much less intense than what it presently is, which is a restaurant,” said attorney Karen Benson. “We think it is in harmony with the area and in keeping with the character of the area. My client intends to live there.”

Gregory Dias, attorney and abutter, argued against the plan, contending that the lot is too small to accommodate a two-family dwelling.

“They should only be allowed to build a one-family home,” he said. In other matters:

The board approved the petition of Jabryfin, LLC, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to maintain a second dwelling in a detached structure at 6 Jeffery Road and 5 Alpond Drive. “I think this family compound makes a lot of sense in this case,” board member Christopher Allott said. “It’s harmonious to the neighborhood.”

The board approved the petition of Pamela Murrin, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to construct a 1.5-story garage/studio addition and a small deck addition at 26 Halidon Avenue.

The board approved the petition of the Roman Catholic Bishop of Providence, applicant and owner, for a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to divide the property into two lots at 75 Brenton Road, the former Cluny School.

The board approved the petition of the Rhode Island Public Transportation Authority (RIPTA), applicant and owner, for a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to locate a 20,000-gallon above-ground fuel storage tank at 350 Coddington Highway. RIPTA engineers told the board that the in-ground tank on site is getting old and needs replacing, and that an above-ground tank would be safer, cleaner and more environmentally friendly.

The board denied the petition of Peter Utzschneider, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to maintain an 8-by-8-foot detached shed at 59 Houston Avenue. The vote was 3-2, but four votes were needed for approval, with Kirwin and Russell Johnson opposed.

Petitions continued to the Nov. 26 meeting were:

Leslie Gillette and James Pallis, applicants and owners, for a special use permit and a variance to the off-street parking requirements for permission to convert one of two dwelling units into a two-bedroom seasonal guesthouse at 11-13 Brewer Street.

J. Richard and Margaret Radcliffe, applicants, for a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to construct a 3.5-story, single-family dwelling on a vacant lot on Houston Avenue.

Julie Wright, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the off-street parking requirements for permission to convert the second dwelling unit into a two-bedroom guesthouse and provide two off-street parking spaces at 14 Bayview Avenue.

George and Carmen Critz, applicants and owners, for a special use permit for permission to maintain a sailboat over 7.5 feet high to the property located at 36 Admiral Kalbfus Road.

Angela Montemagni, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to convert a detached garage in a second dwelling unit at 16 West Narragansett Avenue.

Vahan Janjigian, applicant and owner, for a special use permit and a variance to the dimensional requirements for permission to construct a three-season room with a second-floor deck at 104 Champlin Place.

Adam Zaff, applicant and owner, for a dimensional variance for permission to construct a single-family home at 0 Tompkins Court.

Withdrawn was the petition of Scott Tremblay, applicant and owner, for a special use permit to construct a rooftop deck at 30 Mc- Cormick Road.

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