DALTON -- The enterprise that wants to redevelop the Curtis Manor Retirement Home will be renamed to distinguish it as a unique venture.
Building owners Joseph Kroboth and Richard Solis had earlier applied with Dalton Board of Appeals (ZBA) to change the use of 83 Curtis St. under the entity 1307 North Street LLC. On Tuesday, the ZBA accepted the withdrawal of this application during a public hearing at the Senior Center.
In an interview Tuesday, Solis said he and Kroboth withdrew the application because residents had associated it with the title of the LLC, which refers to another property Kroboth owns: Barton's Crossing homeless shelter located at 1307 North St. in Pittsfield. The two hosted an informational meeting for the public last month where a number of people involved with the project spoke, countering what they identified as falsehoods about the project that were circulating in town.
Contrary to the rumors, project advocates said at the meeting, a "halfway house" or something like it was not planned for the former retirement home. Instead, they said they hoped to renovate and refit three structures on the property into 13 single-bedroom apartments for tenants 55 or older.
Solis said Tuesday he and Kroboth will now re-submit the application under a new enterprise: Dalton Senior Apartments LLC.
"The strategy is basically to remove that stigma," Solis said.
Resident Jeff Aldrich, whose home at 69 Curtis St. abuts the property, explained residents' original alarm to The Eagle on Wednesday.
"The initial filing said they wished to change the use, but never really states what they were wanted to change it to," he said. "... So then you look at the name the filing came under and start asking who are they? What other properties do they own? What else do they do?"
Aldrich said he doesn't oppose the concept now that he's seen the plans, but he'll keep close watch on how things proceed and any proposed changes to the property. He encouraged his fellow neighbors to do so as well.
"I don't think anyone's opposed to development, we just want to see the appropriate kind of development," Aldrich said.
Solis said they hope to submit their new application to the ZBA by Oct. 1. The board would then have until the following month to approve or deny the special permit.
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