P&Z says no vintage cars in old firehouse
SALISBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission (P&Z) declined to support the sale of the old firehouse to Frank Gallogly, at the commission’s meeting Tuesday, Oct. 4.The Board of Selectmen decided in August that a cash offer from Gallogly of $475,000 for the old firehouse and an adjacent building at 9 and 9A Sharon Road was worth bringing to town meeting.Gallogly would like to use to the old firehouse to store a collection of classic automobiles, and would possibly use the upstairs as an office.His offer includes restoration of the building, maintaining the facade, keeping the open space next to the firehouse open for use as a public space, and renovating the building at 9A for future commercial use.The selectmen felt that of the handful of ideas — and one other concrete offer — the Gallogly deal was worth bringing to the town for a vote. Unlike an earlier offer for $400,000, Gallogly’s offer is for a higher price, is a cash deal and has no contingencies.However, the contract the town signed with Gallogly in accepting his deposit of $47,500 specifies approval by both town meeting and by the planning commission.Commission member Cristin Rich expressed some doubt that Gallogly’s proposal is “in sync with the Plan of Conservation and Development,” (POCD) especially given the property’s prior, public use.“I’m not sure we’ve exhausted the discussion.”She recalled at some length a time when Lakeville had a grocery store, a drugstore (with soda fountain), and, overall, a more robust village atmosphere.Commission member Jon Higgins said that during discussions of building the new firehouse, the advisory committee’s recommendation was that the town sell the old firehouse to offset the cost of the new one, and keep Community Field as public property.“If we don’t give our sanction we are acting contrary to voters’ expectations,” he said, adding he saw no conflict with the town plan.Commission Chairman Michael Klemens brought the discussion into focus, asking, “Is this consistent with the POCD?”Rich said she thought it “neutral” in that respect. But when it came time to vote to pass the Gallogly offer on to a town meeting, Rich voted no, along with Klemens and Dan Dwyer. Higgins and Marty Whalen voted in favor.Rand said Monday, Oct. 10, that he had spoken with Gallogly, who was unsure of how — or if — to proceed.“I don’t think any of us are interested in moving ahead unless there is a consensus to bring this to town meeting,” Rand said.“There was no shortage of opinions at our meeting” (a public hearing last month).Selling the firehouse to Gallogly, ultimately, is up to the voters, he said. Another factor in the discussion was the proposal from Mike Flint to convert the old firehouse into three units of affordable (or “workforce”) housing. Last week, the Affordable Housing Commission decided that the Flint proposal was not economically viable, and First Selectman Curtis Rand reported that neither the Salisbury Housing Trust nor the Salisbury Housing Committee were interested in taking on construction of the apartments.Flint, in the audience Tuesday, expressed his irritation that the housing commission had reached their conclusion without consulting him.