Friday, April 13, 2007
ZBA allows Assurance Technology to renovate after fire damage
Chip Orcutt, property manager for Larue Renfroe, owner of Assurance Technology Corporation (ATC) and South Street Realty Trust of 84 South Street, appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) requesting a Special Permit to use the Brick-End building for business purposes instead of as a residential rental unit and to increase the number of employees who could work at the Assurance Technology main office building on South Street from 75 to 100. In February, part of the Assurance Technology/South Street Realty property was damaged by a fire that originated at 68 South Street.
Assurance Technology is an engineering and management consulting firm specializing in systems, hardware, and software for space, avionics and tactical applications. They currently employ 300 people in total with 75 currently working at the South Street office, the majority of whom are project managers. Most of their work is performed off site and they travel frequently, but when in the office, they are in cramped quarters. "As sad as the fire was for us, it affords us the opportunity to relook at where we are," Orcutt stated. Manufacturing and testing occurs in their Chelmsford office.
Alan Carpenito of 493 South Street and a member of the Board of Selectmen expressed concerns over the loss of rental housing if the ZBA allowed the Brick-End building to be converted from a residence into an office building as well as the potential traffic increase should the employee number rise. "If [the ZBA] grants them the option to use the Brick-End building as office space, then that is a great loss to the community in housing. No one is replacing that housing."
George Shepard of 45 South Street, an abutter to ATC, said to Orcutt at the hearing, "You guys have been good neighbors. The appearance of the building has been good; upkeep has been good." While Shepard agrees with Carpenito regarding the "crummy position" Carlisle is in regarding housing, he said it seems that their end of Carlisle is the part that is bearing the brunt of it.
The ZBA ultimately granted the special permit with the following conditions: 1) allow the Brick-End building to be used for business purposes; 2) the number of employees should not exceed 88; 3) the two residential units in the barn on the property shall remain residential; and 4) conditions of the1979 ZBA decision remain in effect unless otherwise stated.
© 2007 The