FARMINGTON — A proposal to raze a High Street apartment house and create a parking area for the University Credit Union will come before the Farmington Village Corp.’s Appeals Board on Monday.

A public hearing is planned for 5 p.m. April 1 in the water department’s office at 137 High St.

The University Credit Union has proposed razing the adjacent house at 152 High St. to install a parking lot.

“We need to ensure we can get approval first before coming to agreeable terms with the property owner,” Matt Walsh, UCU president, said Tuesday. “There is no sale agreement at this point. Our goal is to see if we can do this first.”

The proposed plan calls for razing the apartment house and creating 10-12 parking spaces. The credit union’s present driveway off Middle would be extended so customers would enter on Middle and exit on High Street, he said.

The second phase involves building a small addition to the credit union on the back and adding a drive through lane.

The credit union’s property at High and Middle streets falls within the zoning plan of the Farmington Village Corp. and requires a permit from the corporation, said Jane Woodman, business manager for the water department.

The corporation’s Planning Board could not grant a variance for the project so it comes before the corporation’s Appeal Board.

The credit union went through the same process when it turned the single-family home into a service bank in 2007, Woodman said. The Planning Board did write a letter to the Appeals Board voicing their favor for the project in the corporation’s residential zone.

The proposed project also needs a site review, including soil erosion and waste water management, from the town Planning Board, Farmington Code Enforcement Officer Steve Kaiser said.

Safety was one important reason given by UCU to the Planning Board, Woodman said. With a corner lot and small drive off Middle Street, customers back out on to Middle Street. Parking is limited on Middle and High streets around the credit union.

The additional parking surrounding the business provides a chance for customers to get off the street and also gets UCU employees’ vehicles off the street, Walsh said.

The Farmington Village Corp.’s zoning ordinance stems from a proposal in 1955 to place a gas station next to the Congrgational Church on Main Street.  The ordinance was adopted to stop the project, Woodman said.

The ordinance developed a residential district that grandfathered those already in place such as doctors, lawyers, a veterinarian, funeral home and dressmaker. 

It also included a business district and an industrial district to cover the canning factory on the Intervale.

The zone stretches from Horn’s Corner, just north of town, down to Tannery Brook near Lake Avenue, and from Fairview Avenue to the east all the way to the river.

When people apply for town approval on a project, the checklist for those within the zone includes a permit from the corporation, she said.

Members serving on the corporation’s planning, appeals or assessing boards have to reside within the Village Corporation. The boards meet only as needed, Woodman said.

Although the zoning ordinance has relaxed a bit over the years, the Village Corporation’s board of assessors still have the power to assess and tax residents but only males living within the Village Corporation, she said.

Although the town developed a comprehensive plan, Woodman proposes that the Village Corporation’s zoning plan “is why we have the village that we do.”

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