PITTSFIELD — The Carr Hardware on North Street received approval Tuesday of a special permit for its window wraps, after a unanimous vote by the Community Development Board.
The board gave the green light to the current window displays of tools, materials and products that wrap around the hardware store at 547 North St. Board members told James Callahan, whose company, Callahan Sign, designed the window treatments, that any changes to the displays would need an additional special permit.
As part of the rules for buildings in the district, windows are required to have at least 50 percent transparency “to create an active relationship between the storefront and sidewalk.” The hardware store window vinyls did not meet that requirement.
The windows have given at least one other city board pause.
In July, the issue of whether the window wraps were art or signs — and thus, in violation of the city’s signage ordinances — split a Zoning Board of Appeals vote. The board voted 3-2 to classify the window wraps as artwork and not in violation of signage ordinances.
Building owner Bart Raser said at that meeting that he felt like the city was “picking on” the store with the city code violations and that he felt the windows represented “a significant improvement to our building” and “a significant improvement to downtown.”
City Planner CJ Hoss said at Tuesday night’s meeting that while the Community Development Board wants businesses to meet city zoning ordinances, this situation called for some leniency.
“We’re hoping that the new district enhances downtown,” Chair Sheila Irvin said after Hoss’ comment. “But, there has to be a certain degree of flexibility and understanding that change comes not always quickly.”