Over 2000 people have signed a petition asking the town of Ayer’s Cliff to allow Wood’s Snack Bar on Main Street to keep the entrances to its parking lot; having three contravenes a municipal bylaw.
Gregory Dupuis, one of the three owners of the business, is hoping Wood’s can keep the driveway as is, suggesting it is a matter of convenience for customers.
According to Dupuis, the entry point that the town wants closed is the first one on the left heading South on Main, connected to the parking lot for the tourist bureau and library.
“That was there back in 1957,” Dupuis said, when Wood’s first opened.
Dupuis said he and his sisters bought the lot adjacent to Wood’s, which had its own entry point, causing the problem.
“It’s not about the expense, it’s more about the convenience,” Dupuis said, adding that the family has no intention of backing down at this time. He did, however, point out that the last thing anyone wants is a legal dispute.
“The only people who would win would be the lawyers,” Dupuis said, hoping he and his sisters will have an opportunity to meet with the town and discuss the issue.
Dupuis said he was unaware of any accidents and didn’t believe the three entry points posed a safety or security risk to customers in the parking lot.
He believes that because the adjacent lot purchased already had an entry point of its own, Wood’s should be able to qualify for an acquired right, exempting them from the town bylaw.
Ayer’s Cliff town manager Kimball Smith is certainly aware of the discontent around the situation.
“It all goes back to when they did a major renovation,” Smith told The Record of the third-entry dispute.
“The town planning committee recommended that we apply the bylaw,” he said.
The bylaw in question refers to businesses having no more than two public entrances opening onto the main street, in this case a provincial route.
“They have a third entry that they feel is important,” Smith said. He added that the owners of Wood’s Snack Bar have requested to meet with the council to discuss the matter further.
Smith is not unsympathetic to the situation.
“It’s an important business for the village,” he said, but admitted that the council has final say. They could very well want to accommodate the business, but may have to take the town planning committee’s recommendation to the finish.
The petition has not yet been received by the town. “We’ll see when we get it what it says,” Smith commented.
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