Board unanimously approves library move

by Mary Grow

China Planning Board members have unanimously approved the first steps in the South China Library’s plan to open a new building in a new location.

Jean Dempster, president of the library Board of Trustees, explained the project at the board’s Sept. 12 meeting.

The library, currently located on a very small lot on Village Street opposite the South China church, will be moved to a 4.75-acre lot on Jones Road, sharing it with the 1815 Rufus Jones birth-place, one of several China buildings on the National Register of Historic Places.

Downhill from the Jones house, Dempster said, library trustees plan to create a new driveway and parking lot; put the former portable classroom acquired from the Town of China on a cement slab; build an addition on the portable building; and move part of the existing library building to the new site. Planning board members voted unanimously to waive a public hearing. Reviewing the town’s criteria for such a project, they found the application met them all and approved it after half an hour’s review.

Dempster said water will come from the existing drilled well and an appropriate septic system will be installed so the library will finally have plumbing. The new parking lot will accommodate 16 vehicles, including two handicapped spaces. The building will have a permit from the state fire marshal and will meet Americans with Disabilities Act standards.

She told board members the trustees hope to do the driveway and site preparation this fall; the slab might be postponed to spring, depending on workers’ availability and weather.

In the future, she said, trustees hope to revive the Jones house as a historic site.

A second applicant on the Sept. 12 planning board agenda did not attend the meeting, so the application was not reviewed. In the absence of Chairman Jim Wilkens, board members postponed decisions on the ordinance amendments and procedural issues they have been discussing.

Codes Officer Paul Mitnik said he received an exploratory phone call about possible construction of a Dollar General store at the intersection of Route 3 and Windsor Road, near the South China Hannaford. He emphasized there is no definite proposal.

The next China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, Sept. 26.

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