GROTON -- The Planning Board, approved, 5-0, an unusually strict order of conditions that were attached to a special permit application by restaurateur George Pergantis.
The sole dissenter was Russell Burke who voted "present."
Provisions placed rigid oversight on Pergantis' plan to establish a seafood restaurant on the property where he once operated the Groton Inn.
Among the restrictive provisions of the special permit approval was covered under the "inspections/compliance" portion that will require Pergantis to acquire written statements of approval of the completed project from the Board of Health, Conservation Commission, Historic Districts Commission, and the Planning Board before a use and occupancy permit can be issued by the town's building inspector.
Conditions also require that the board's consulting engineer inspect the finished project and that Pergantis pay all outstanding invoices generated by the consultant before an occupancy permit can be issued.
Pergantis must submit his ongoing restaurant and related property, that includes a public pool and apartment units, for review by the board at six-month and one-year intervals over the next year.
Finally, the special permit must remain with Pergantis and not be transferable to "successors in interest, successors in control, or beneficial interests."
The severity of the conditions were acknowledged by board members who read through the eight-page document line by line before approving them.
"It is a highly restricted permit," said member George Barringer.
Member Timothy Svarczkopf said the conditions were "valid" and "correct" and would help guarantee compliance.
The vote, taken Thursday, was preceded by months of trial and error by Pergantis to receive approval for his plan to establish a seafood restaurant in a carriage house that survived the fire that destroyed the former Groton Inn.
Getting off on the wrong foot due to confusion over whether the carriage house would serve as a restaurant or function hall, issues of occupancy, the number of parking spaces available, and other matters, Pergantis was obliged to withdraw his initial application for a special permit and resubmit.
Perhaps most damaging to Pergantis' application was his repeated attempts to perform work at his 124 Main St. property that was not sanctioned by the town and that was not covered in the site plan under consideration by the Planning Board.
Conditions also covered the number of parking spaces required for restaurant and residential apartments, access, improvement of a gravel drive, signage, dumpsters, removal of debris on the property, landscaping, lighting, and the clean up of an area of the property used as a landfill.
One condition requires that the applicant "plan an area to be reserved for the construction of an interconnection with the adjoining parcel at 134 Main Street." That last is for a projected road running parallel to Main Street and connecting properties on either side of the new Boynton Meadows sub-division that is under construction.
Barringer listed a number of reasons why the application should be approved, including that a restaurant was an approved use for the site and that worse things could be proposed for the property should the application be denied.
Barringer also said it was not the board's responsibility to judge the appropriateness of the use being proposed and that a restaurant at the site would not detract from the property but improve it.
Barringer said denying the application would not help in the overall improvement of the downtown neighborhood.