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Clark Tavern Before ZBA Tonight, Was Heard by Planning Board on Monday

Supporters are interested in restoring the historic property to its original use while opponents are concerned about traffic, parking, and more.

Planning Board meeting regarding the Clark Tavern restoration project, Jan. 6, 2014. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
Planning Board meeting regarding the Clark Tavern restoration project, Jan. 6, 2014. Credit: Theresa Knapp.
The Clark Tavern renovation project will be before the Medfield Zoning Board of Appeals tonight, Jan. 9, at 7:30 p.m. at Town Hall. 

The applicant, JML Group LLC (Medfield residents John and Michelle Linnert), is seeking a Special Permit from the ZBA in order to "renovate and restore the old Clark's Tavern property for the purpose of re-opening a Tavern on the premises." 

The project was before the Planning Board on Jan. 6 for a site plan review. During the public hearing, the board heard from the applicant who hopes to restore the property; the lawyer hired by neighbors who oppose the project because of increased traffic, parking, and more; as well as other members of the public and town boards who attended the 80-minute hearing. 

Many neighbor concerns centered on the use of the property as a "tavern," a commercial use in a residential area. The applicant says it should be allowed under the historic preservation bylaw. The Zoning Board of Appeals will make that determination and the public is invited to that meeting tonight. 

After meeting with opponents, some revisions have been made to the original proposed project, including: 

  • The service driveway on the right side of the property was eliminated.
  • A 25 foot buffer strip was added to the left side of the property against the Yankee property by moving some parking spaces to the back. The trees along the property line will stay, and a fence will be added. 
  • The driveway on the left side and sidewalk will be pavers, the heavy parking area in the back will be pavement.
  • The addition to the building in the back was changed; the tavern area will not be enlarged.
  • The number of Bed and Breakfast rooms was reduced from five to four.
In addition, it was stated that:

  • A traffic study was presented which showed the sight distance for the driveway is adequate. 
  • A stop sign and line will be installed at the egress of the property onto Main Street. 
  • The applicant confirmed the tavern will have no more than 90 seats.
  • There will be parking for 43 cars on the property; no on-street parking. 
  • There will not be any additional transportation provided from satellite sites to bring people to the site.
  • Deliveries will be less than five a day and will take place during off-peak hours.
  • Live music will be inside the building.
  • There will be no smoking inside the building and smoking elsewhere on the property will be discouraged. 
  • There will likely be eight employees on the property at one time.  
  • The rooftop HVAC system will be at the back of the building where a kitchen (and elevator) addition is proposed; there will be no generator. 
  • Dumpster in back will be screened.
  • Odor will be controlled by HVAC system.
  • Applicant and town will discuss re-striping of Main and Pound Street intersection.
James Murphy, Esq., of Sherborn was hired by the neighbors who are concerned with the number of parking spaces, the definition of a Bed and Breakfast (that is a ZBA issue), maintaining drainage on the property, and the effect the project will have on the abutting house lot being sold for $600,000. He also suggested additional screening in the back near the dumpster area.  

Members of the Historical Society, Historic Commission, Historical District Commission, and Town Historian/Selectman Richard DeSorgher spoke in favor of the project. 

Concerned residents (not all were neighbors) spoke against the project including Connie Sweeney, Dick Clark, Gloria Yankee, and Robert White. 

For more information and photos on the original proposed renovation plan, click HERE.

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