GROTON -- After months of review and discussion, a local businessman will be allowed to move his karate studio to Groton.
When Michael Luth first brought his proposal to relocate his studio to 306 Main St. from Pepperell, he never expected to run into too much difficulty.
And he had every right to expect that until questions arose about sharing a limited number of parking spaces at the site with Workers Credit Union next door.
Planning to relocate his karate studio into an existing building at the Main Street site, Luth intends to expand his floor space by constructing an 1,800-square-foot addition, a situation that quickly drew the attention of Workers' Credit Union, which shares a 36-space parking lot with him.
Although Luth had earlier assured board members that even though the town's zoning regulations require him to have at least 17 parking spaces for the size of his building, the most he would ever need is 10.
Luth said at the time that due to the small amount of time his business hours would overlap with those of the bank, there would never be a problem with a lack of parking spaces.
But that assurance was contested by the bank, which claimed that while having no objection to Luth's business, its primary concern remained increased traffic and the availability of parking for its own customers.
However, with an agreement among the parties (which also included Dr. Jay Decoteau, whose offices also share access from Main Street
Wording in the special permit decision acknowledges that parking spaces at the site were divided, with 20 for the bank and 16 for the karate studio, and that the parking area in general is shared between the two parties through an access and parking easement.
Wording in the decision stated that it was "determined that there are sufficient parking spaces to serve the proposed karate studio because the proposed hours of operation for the karate studio do not generally conflict with the hours of operation of Workers Credit Union."
Among the conditions listed in the decision were those that prohibited "live parking for drop off and pick up" of students and that Luth "ensure that the right of way access (from Decoteau's property) is not blocked or obstructed at all times."
Also, the board reserved the right to review the project after a year's time "to assure compliance with the special permit and to determine if any reasonable modifications are warranted."
After the decision was made, Luth thanked board members for the manner in which they had conducted the review process, saying that he "appreciated the time and understanding" displayed by members over the sometimes complicated application.
Also last week, board members placed the finishing touch on their previous decision to approve a special permit for Anytime Fitness owner Anthony VivoAmore's plan to construct a new building across the street from his current location.
Looking to expand his successful business, VivoAmore purchased land at 536 Main St. and submitted a plan to construct a new building for his fitness studio. Over months of review involving placement of the main entrance, screening and parking, a final design was settled upon with the board granting its approval at a meeting held in February.
Last week's vote to formally endorse the final site plan will allow VivoAmore to proceed with construction for which the site has already been cleared.