CHATHAM – Chatham Bars Inn will go before the planning board next week with a proposal to allow the resort to continue to use a warehouse it owns on Chatham Bars Avenue as a storage and maintenance facility.
Town officials issued stop work orders last year halting the inn's active use of the building at 20 Chatham Bars Avenue. Once a bowling alley but for many years a storage facility, the building is located in a residential district and officials determined that its commercial warehouse use had been abandoned for more than two years.
The inn will go before the planning board on April 11 with a request to amend a site plan for the property approved in 1999. A narrative filed with the application states that the building will be used for interior storage of inn property, a maintenance workshop and exterior storage of boats and vehicles.
Landscaping around the building will be improved and deliveries to the site will be minimized to limit disturbance to the neighborhood, the application states.
Neighbors had filed complaints regarding truck making deliveries and pickups at the building going back to fall 2015. After years of neglect, the inn had made improvements to the structure and was using it to store and ship laundry and other materials.
The inn appealed the stop work orders to the zoning board of appeals, which ruled in June that the warehouse use of the building had been abandoned. CBI filed suit in Barnstable Superior Court in July seeking to overturn the ruling, claiming the structure pre-dates zoning and had a long history as a pre-existing, nonconforming use. A special permit issued in 1971 allowed the conversion of the building from a bowling alley to a storage warehouse, and that use has continued until the present, the inn argued.
The town and the inn remain in discussions over settlement of the suit, according to Town Counsel Kathleen Connolly. A conference on the status of the case is scheduled for early May, she said.
In its application to the planning board, the inn states that the amended site plan is being requested “without waiving any rights in connection with the pending litigation concerning historical use [of the building] and as part of a proposed settlement of such litigation.”
No physical changes are proposed in the 9,940-square-foot building, but planned site improvements include an expanded gravel and paved parking area on the east side, improved stormwater management in the parking areas on the east and west side, site lighting and improved landscaping, according to the application.
Proposed uses, which will also require approval from the zoning board of appeals, include interior seasonal, long term and temporary bulk storage of hotel property; interior and exterior storage of CBI boats during the off-season; a maintenance workshop and office for up to three hotel engineering and maintenance staff in the section of the building that used to house a two-bedroom apartment; interior storage of grounds and landscaping equipment; and exterior overnight storage of up to six vehicles.
The inn will make “a significant effort to minimize the extent of active use of the property over that of other uses allowed on the site and to condition how and when the property us utilized in order to minimize impacts to the neighbors,” the application states. There will not be “heavy daily use,” it adds.
Among the conditions suggested are limited hours and truck deliveries, with delivery vehicles using a one-way flow to minimize back-up alarms; no physical changes to the building; and additional landscaping and improved screening. There will be no Sunday activities; no activities from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., except for the return of maintenance vehicles; truck deliveries from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday; landscape garage operation from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays and 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday; and office and workshop hours of 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday to Saturday.
Truck deliveries will be limited to an average of 16 per month from April to October and 10 during the off-season.
The April 11 site plan review begins at 7 p.m. at the annex. A zoning board hearing has not yet been scheduled.