Friday, July 2, 2004
Ferns to add farmer's porch
Ferns Country Store owner Larry Bearfield appeared before the selectmen on June 22 for a review of his plan to add a "farmer's porch," handicapped access ramp, and new signage. The new porch will span the front and wrap around to the side. It will not be wide enough for tables and chairs, but will have benches. Selectmen John Ballantine noted, "People might linger longer, and that's appropriate for a town center." Abutter Francene Amari-Faulkner added her approval, "It's now kind of an eyesore, and I just wanted to come and support Larry."
Bearfield said he and Police Chief Galvin had discussed ways to improve parking safety. Parking will be pushed away from the corner with fourteen spaces provided, of which eight or nine will be in front. In addition, the access to and from the back parking will be one way with the driveway onto Bedford Road an exit only. The original plan to place a handicapped ramp to the right of the building was scrapped, and the ramp will be to the left, closer to parking.
Bearfield noted the town's site plan review process, designed primarily for residential development, has added to expenses and slowed progress. In particular, the $1,000 filing fee "is a very significant portion of our costs." Responded Chair Tim Hult, "My inclination is to significantly reduce or eliminate that [fee], but let's hear from the Planning Board." Bearfield had yet to meet with the Planning Board and Historic Commission, after which he must return to the Selectmen.
The Selectmen hope to grant site plan approval at their next meeting on July 13.
© 2004 The