China planners unanimously approve two projects

Grange hall apartments conversion welcome by neighbors

by Mary Grow

The two projects on the China Planning Board’s May 14 agenda got praise as well as unanimous approval.

Carrol White’s application to convert the former Silver Lake Grange Hall in China Village to four apartments was the subject of a short public hearing. Everyone who spoke at the hearing endorsed the change, including Main Street resident Ann Sylvester, whose daughter and son-in-law live in the house north of the Grange Hall, and Jennifer Clair, owner of the post office south of the Grange Hall.

Sylvester thinks the apartments will be “a nice addition to the town.” Clair called the reuse of the building “a wonderful idea.”

White intends to sell the building to another Main Street resident, Daniel Coleman. Coleman said he has experience with rehabilitating buildings and as a landlord, and intends to find tenants who will be good neighbors.

The other application was from Jeffrey Michaud. He and Mark Brown are doing selective cutting on a lot once owned by Henry “Hank” Dillenbeck on Lakeview Drive; they needed planning board approval to do some of the work in a resource protection area.

The two said the resource protection area extends 250 feet from the edges of a wetland that used to have more water, until a man-made dam was breached some years ago. Now, a stream runs through a marshy area.

Planning board members found Michaud and Brown met all requirements to encroach into the protected area. Board chairman Toni Wall commended their work.

Michaud said nearby landowners had asked him to do selective cutting on their woodlot. On their lot, too, he expects to take out some trees in a 250-foot resource protection zone.

Codes officer Nicholas French said Michaud will need another planning board permit and supporting documents, including another wading bird habitat report from the state Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife.

The next China Planning Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday evening, June 25. Board members canceled their May 28 meeting; a June 11 meeting would have fallen on primary election day.


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