MANCHESTER - In a meeting held on Wednesday, March 13 the Development Review Board said it would make a written decision within 45 days on an application for a package of building incentives requested by the ownership of the former Sirloin Saloon on Depot Street.

If passed, the application will allow for incentives that make is overall size of the building larger than what was previously presented.

The building, a former restaurant which closed more than a year ago, is being reconfigured for retailing as well as dining.

Craig Hunter, property manager, presented the proposed changes. They included some parking alterations, a change in a curb cut, and adding a loading dock at the north end of the store for larger vehicles to unload merchandise.

"We will be removing the curb cut, which was asked by [the board]. We also have a conveyor system in storage that can be used to unload merchandise to the second floor."

According to Hunter, the total incentives gained were 9,515 square feet, by adding green space to the parking as well as the change to the curb cut. They gained an allowable footprint of 12,515 square feet and are asking for a 9,725 square foot building, almost 3,000 square feet above what we are asking for.

Store owners in the immediate area raised concerns over the parking situation since the hours of the new building will be different from the hours that the Sirloin Saloon was open for business, since the new building is designed to be opened during the day and night.

Bob Borella, owner of Friends of the Sun, wanted to make sure that since the building will be open all day that he could reserve the right to place signage that would display "Friends of the Sun parking only."

"There are three parking spots, out of the 66 spaces, that we have rights to 24 hours a day," Borella said. "Understanding that [Hunter] has an excess of parking spaces with the shared parking agreement that we have, our own real concern is that on weekends both of us will be very busy and our customers can't get to our parking spaces," he said. "I was thinking of, perhaps, some signage that could be provided for eight or 10 parking sports right in front of our store that said 'parking for Friends of the Sun only from during the hours of 8 a.m. to 6 p.m.' that might suffice."

Hunter responded by saying they would be willing to make that change and put up those eight to 10 signs and also add a sign as people drive into the parking lot that saying parking for Friends of the Sun only.

"We absolutely don't want to interfere with your business at all. We are hoping that this building will be a boom for your business and every else around and bring more people in," Hunter said.

Ann Smith, owner of Manchester Woodcraft, was uneasy about the parking situation and was worried that her spaces will be taken up during the day for businesses located in the new building. Smith also showed some concern about larger trucks maneuvering around a busy parking lot during the day to unload merchandise.

"We feel like the size of the proposed building cannot possibly be supported by the actual number of parking spaces available. The idea that 15 cars can fit into 10 parking spaces makes absolutely no sense."

According to Hunter, he counted any rear parking spaces as 1.5 spaces which is what the bylaw states, which has probably caused the difference in numbers.

"We also have a concern with the ability of large delivery trucks to be able to back into the building and then get out and turn around if, and when, all parking spaces are occupied," said Smith.

In response to the concern, Hunter said, "All of that was looked into when we did the site plan and there is more than ample turning radius's for trucks to get in and out from the back of the parking lot with the parking lot full."

In other business, Dunkin Donuts gave a presentation on changes that have been made since the previous Board meeting. Among the topics of concern were noise from the automatic car wash and traffic flow within the store limits. The presentation will be continued at the next DRB meeting on April 3.