Published in the September 10, 2015 edition.
By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — More changes may be coming to the downtown that could well bring significant aesthetic improvements, including upgrades to one notably run-down property on Main Street.
The Zoning Board of Appeals entertained two applications last night from applicants seeking to open new restaurants in the Square. One applicant is seeking to turn the former Ski & Sport Shack property at 408-412 Main St. into a new Chinese eatery. The other would like to turn the 395-397 Main St. space currently occupied by the Duck Walk into a restaurant/sports bar.
The ZBA did grant the requested Special Permit for the 395-397 Main St. location for a restaurant/sports bar to be called “Caryn’s.” The prospective business owner, Leanne Wheeler, who would lease the space, still needs liquor license approvals from the Board of Selectmen and the state Alcoholic Beverages Control Commission (ABCC).
The hearing on the former Ski & Sport Shack location was continued until Sept. 23 and prospective owner Vincent Zang and attorney Chris Coleman were given a laundry list of information that the ZBA wants before it will make a decision on the request.
The condition of the former Ski & Sport Shack property has been the subject of much criticism, especially since the business moved out several years ago.
The proposed new Chinese restaurant, which would be called “Sky City,” would encompass the former Ski & Sport Shack and the current space occupied by China Eatery.
Coleman acknowledged that the building was in poor condition and said that his client planned to spend up to $300,000 on interior and exterior upgrades to the front and rear of the building.
Tarbell told Zang and Coleman that site plan review would be required, especially given the condition of the building. Tarbell said that, among other things, the site plan should show the location of water, sewer and power utilities.
Board members also said they would want to know more about the Dumpster location, how and where deliveries will happen and more about the type and color of materials used for the exterior improvements. ZBA members also want information about planned signage.
Also discussed were the condition of the rear stairs and landing and the fact that the ZBA does not want any rooftop mechanical units to be visible from the street.
Coleman said that the plan was to refurbish the whole rear of the building and install new stairs and landings.
Board members said that they needed to see detailed renderings of the front and rear elevations showing the exact locations of various proposed improvements and changes.
Coleman said that his client would be going for a liquor license. The anticipated hours of operation would be from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday through Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday.
Coleman told the board that Zang worked at Kowloon in Saugus for seven years.
The ZBA continued the hearing until Sept. 23.
Attorney Brian McGrail represented Leanne Wheeler of 109 Hopkins St. in her application for parking relief allowing her to open what he called a family-type restaurant/sports bar in the current Duck Walk location. He said that Wheeler has an agreement to acquire the space, pending approval of various licenses and permits.
McGrail said that while the space is in very good condition, Wheeler plans to do significant upgrades to the interior. He said that the plan was to have 99 seats (fewer than the Duck Walk). There will be a maximum of 12 employees, he said.
He said that his client would be proposing new signage replacing the current internally lit sign, which does not meet current sign bylaw requirements. He maintained that it would be “one more step forward for signage in downtown Wakefield.”
McGrail said the hours of the new establishment would be governed by the Board of Selectmen and the ABCC but Wheeler said that she would like to open at 11 a.m. and close as late as 1 a.m. on weekends.
The Board voted unanimously to approve a Special Permit for reduction of requirements for off-street parking. For conditions, the ZBA said that trash must be located in the rear and deliveries should be made in the rear as much as possible.
In other business, the Board of Appeals:
• Approved a variance that will allow Marc and Karalyn Simoneau to install an above-ground swimming pool in their side yard.
• Approved Kimberly Yianacopolus’ request for a Special Permit for a family daycare at 15 Butternut Rd.