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Early opinions good as black field theater proposal will get Lebanon Zoning Board's OK – Valley Information


LEBANON — A proposal to create a 90- to 130-seat efficiency venue within the former Lebanon Junior Excessive Faculty constructing has obtained approval from the Lebanon Zoning Board of Adjustment, although residents and even board members nonetheless have considerations concerning the mission’s potential affect of site visitors, parking and security.

The Zoning Board voted unanimously at a public listening to Monday to grant a conditional particular exception to builders searching for to transform the previous faculty gymnasium right into a small theater for stay performs and music at 75 Financial institution St., a six-story mixed-use constructing containing 43 residence items.

Venture candidates Tim Sidore, whose firm, Ledgeworks, manages the 75 Financial institution St. property, and Jim Wasser, an architect primarily based in White River Junction, mentioned they’ve a “nonbinding however working settlement with the Lebanon Opera Home to develop a black-box theater,” a smaller venue for staging performs and live shows. Black field theaters are usually sq. areas with black partitions and flat flooring, permitting totally different configurations for staging and seating.

Wasser mentioned they haven’t designed a plan but for the theater, although builders anticipate a most seating of 90 to 130 seats.

“I believe it can present an ideal profit to town by offering a black-box theater that Lebanon presently doesn’t have,” Wasser informed the Zoning Board.

In keeping with Wasser, the property’s present car parking zone comprises 85 areas, solely 44 of that are required beneath Lebanon’s zoning ordinance to be reserved to be used by residents. Further parking might be out there off-site on the rail-trail public car parking zone, positioned throughout the road from 79 Financial institution St.

Lebanon Senior Planner Tim Corwin mentioned the property’s 85 parking areas are sufficient to accommodate Lebanon’s minimal zoning necessities for 43 residence items, 40 of that are studios, which solely want a minimal of 1 parking area apiece, and an leisure venue containing a minimum of 123 seats.

However residents of Financial institution Road mentioned they nonetheless fear concerning the proposed theater’s affect on the neighborhood in regard to site visitors and road parking.

“We like the concept usually of getting a black field theater,” neighbor Bob Mclellan mentioned. “However I’m not satisfied that (patrons) will know the zoning rules on our road. And even when there are open parking areas on website, folks should still select to park on our road, particularly throughout inclement climate.”

Mclellan’s spouse, Lucy Mclellan, mentioned she anxious concerning the noise affect of occasions on tenants of the constructing, who seem to work at various hours primarily based on her observations of foot site visitors by tenants.

“Flats in Lebanon are troublesome to search out,” Lucy Mclellan mentioned. “I see folks going out and in of the constructing at totally different occasions, and I guess lots of them must sleep.”

Wasser mentioned they’ve already contacted an acoustics guide to evaluate the noise ranges within the gymnasium and to suggest methods to comprise the amount.

Sidore added that the builders intend to be very conscious of the considerations of neighbors and tenants, notably in regard to noise.

“The very last thing we wish to do is create an adversarial scenario for anybody,” Sidore mentioned. “Blended-use property administration is what we do, and we’re actually delicate to the wants (of our tenants), as a result of in any other case we might be taking pictures ourselves within the foot.”

Bob Mclellan acknowledged that noise throughout the gymnasium has by no means been audible to neighbors, although there may typically be noise outdoors the college when attendees of occasions returned to their automobiles.

All theater occasions would conclude by 10 p.m., in accordance with town’s noise curfew ordinance, in keeping with Sidore, who added that almost all applications would doubtless conclude by 9:30 p.m., primarily based on applications usually run by the Lebanon Opera Home or different space venues.

Residents additionally anxious about whether or not there could be alcohol service and whether or not that might result in site visitors security considerations after the occasions.

Sidore and Wasser indicated that alcohol service could also be a part of the theater’s working plan although they didn’t affirm it.

Some Zoning Board members additionally expressed concern concerning the lack of bodily separation between the residential components of the constructing and the theater. Sidore and Wasser mentioned a brand new lavatory could be constructed to serve occasion performances, although patrons would doubtless use the prevailing loos within the gymnasium hallway, the place two flats are additionally positioned.

“As a single feminine, if I lived there, I might not be joyful about 130 folks with the ability to stroll up and down the hallway,” mentioned Zoning Board alternate member Catheryn Hembree.

The Zoning Board added two situations to their approval of a particular exception: first, that the seating capability is not going to exceed 130 folks and, second, that the builders will create separate lavatory services for venue patrons to create a separation from the residential area.

Whereas the Zoning Board felt the proposal met the situations to obtain a particular exception, particular person board members mentioned they’d questions concerning the proposal, although these could be addressed when the candidates deliver their mission earlier than the Lebanon Planning Board.

“It simply didn’t sound to me that the parking has been adequately addressed,” mentioned Zoning Board alternate member Paul McDonough. “I additionally suppose (the proposal) is a bit skinny when it comes to what the affect is on the character of the world.”

In an e-mail response to the Valley Information, Corwin mentioned it isn’t uncommon for candidates to hunt a particular exception for zoning approval earlier than planning the mission’s full design.

“The Zoning Board doesn’t usually look too carefully at inside layouts, which as an alternative shall be reviewed as a part of the constructing allow course of,” Corwin mentioned. “I believe a number of of the board members felt the appliance might have offered extra element concerning the proposed use, however presumably the board obtained the data that they felt was essential to determine the appliance by means of a mixture of the written applicant and the testimony from the applicant.”

Joe Clifford, director of the Lebanon Opera Home, confirmed that the Opera Home is “in a really early dialogue part” with Execusuite LLC, homeowners of 75 Financial institution St., concerning using the gymnasium “as an arts-based area.”

The non-binding settlement, Clifford defined, permits the events a time frame to conduct due diligence “to make certain our objectives and imaginative and prescient for the area are aligned and, most vital, to see if we are able to come to agreeable phrases to make use of the area.”

Patrick Adrian might be reached at [email protected] or 603-727-3216.


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