Union Zoning Board Approves Cozy Corner Mixed-Use Building Upgrade

The Union Zoning Board of Adjustment recently convened to deliberate on the future of the Cozy Corner property, culminating in the approval of a upgrade that includes the addition of three one-bedroom apartments and a variety of improvements. The proposed project by Amanda Jennifer LLC was thoroughly scrutinized, focusing on aspects such as parking, emergency access, trash pickup logistics, and the inclusion of an electric vehicle charging station.

The pivotal aspect of the meeting centered on the approval of Amanda Jennifer LLC’s application to add residential units to the existing Cozy Corner structure. The board’s vote in favor of the project hinged on the detailed presentation by the applicant’s team, which included an architect, an engineer, and a professional planner.

The architect presented the planned enhancements to the property, which encompassed a second-story addition to the existing retail space and alterations aimed at ensuring a seamless design with the existing building and the neighborhood. Discussions were held regarding the building’s north elevation, the distance from the property line, and the impact on emergency vehicle access. Particular attention was paid to Saturday mornings when the restaurant is most active, posing potential accessibility challenges.

Emergency access was a recurring theme throughout the meeting, with specific concerns about the rear of the building and how the proposed changes might affect the ability for emergency vehicles to navigate the area. The engineer addressed these concerns by detailing the width of the area and discussing the feasibility of maneuvering emergency vehicles within the space.

Trash pickup logistics were also a topic of inquiry, with board members examining the placement of dumpsters and the method of moving them to the curb for collection. While solutions were proposed, a definitive resolution on this matter was not reached during the meeting.

Another point of debate was the proposed installation of an electric vehicle (EV) charging station. The fire department had previously expressed concerns about situating the charging station within the building.

The owner of Cozy Corner Deli and Caterers, Pete Celia, testified about the history and operations of the business, emphasizing its importance to the neighborhood. The owner affirmed the intention to preserve the business’s core model and existing parking arrangements, despite the proposed introduction of residential units. The board questioned the business owner about delivery practices, learning that most products are sourced from Restaurant Depot using the business’s vehicle.

Mr. Nicholas Gravano, a professional planner, provided a justification for the sought-after relief in connection with the application. He delineated the specific variances required, such as a D1 use variance and multiple C variances, elucidating the criteria for granting them. Mr. Gravano underscored the benefits of the mixed-use building, advocating that the proposal promotes the general health, safety, and welfare of the community and provides sufficient space for a variety of residential and commercial uses.

Support for the application was widespread among board members and public speakers, with the board ultimately voting in favor of granting the application. The design and proposed improvements received commendations, with assertions that the positive aspects outweigh any potential negatives, and that there would be no adverse impact on the community.

Note: This meeting summary was generated by AI, which can occasionally misspell names, misattribute actions, and state inaccuracies. This summary is intended to be a starting point and you should review the meeting record linked above before acting on anything you read. If we got something wrong, let us know. We’re working every day to improve our process in pursuit of universal local government transparency.
Manuel Figueiredo
Zoning Board Officials:
Gary Ciampi, Henry Wiley, Anthony Bentivegna, Nekita Martins, Melody Scott, Bob Johnsen, Ricardo McNeil

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