Virtual ZBA Greenlights' "Bob's Discount Furniture"


The Franklin Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) met via Zoom Thursday night at 7:30 pm, chaired by Bruce Hunchard.

A relatively short agenda turned into an even shorter meeting when some individuals scheduled to appear did not.

But things started off with Bob’s Furniture, represented by Anna Hallach from their sign contractor.

At 155 Franklin Village Drive, Bob’s was seeking permission to install a wall sign measuring 151 square feet where 48 square feet is allowed.

Hallach explained that compliance with the bylaw would create a hardship for this particular business, because it will not allow Bob's Discount Furniture to be properly branded. If the signage were limited to 48 square feet the lettering would have to be very small, making it hard to be seen, especially since this is one of the store units that is farthest from the main road.

Hallach said this would not allow Bob’s to retain its customary branding and could even create a traffic hazard with customers trying to read the small letters on the sign.

She also compared the relatively large size of the planned store to the larger signs in use by companies such as Marshall’s

Hallach provided more technical detail about her proposed sign and the signs currently in use by others in the mall.

Another representative from Bob’s who was on the call said that the company vacated the location near Home Depot in Bellingham and took a smaller, temporary location in the former Pier 4 retail location, also in Bellingham. But as soon as the larger location in Franklin is ready, operations will move there.

After one or two questions from other members of the Board, the body voted to approve the variance request.

The next matter was Parcel 219-178-002-000, (off of Lincoln Street). Bruce Wheeler, the applicant was seeking to modify a previously approved comprehensive permit. This matter had been before the ZBA previously and the Board had raised a question regarding specific differences (size) between units set aside as affordable and other commercial rate properties. State regulation would seemingly have made this unacceptable on the theory that differences would stigmatize those in affordable units.

However, staffer Casey Thayer indicated that correspondence had been received from the state indicating that they would not object in this case because the developer had provided additional affordable units.

But the matter was moot for Thursday, at least, because no one was present representing the applicant, so the board voted to continue the matter until the next meeting.

Shortly thereafter, the meeting adjourned.

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