NORTH ADAMS -- The Planning Board approved two new businesses and a parking lot at its meeting Monday, and also got a sampling of what a revitalized Hoosic River corridor could look like in the future.
Passersby might have stopped to see one of Monday's newly approved businesses in its germinal form this weekend.
Catherine Foster is leasing the former Carr Hardware building at 192 State St. from owner Bart Raser, and she plans to open a salvage retail business there called Amber Lake Liquidations.
Foster hosted a tag sale inside the building Saturday, and business was reportedly good. Kimberly Gallagher spoke of the proposal at Monday's meeting.
"We find there's a real demand for salvaged items that can be purchased at a big discount," she said. "The [city] could really benefit from having some new retail."
Gallagher said the proprietors anticipate many customers of the Goodwill, located next door, will end up spilling over into the Amber Lake shop. Furniture, appliances, toys and more make up the inventory. The relationship between the two interests -- Goodwill and Amber Lake -- is good, Gallagher said. The board stipulated that a parking arrangement be established.
"Years ago when those properties [presently Goodwill and the former Carr Hardware] came into commercial use there was a lot of friction between the two parties," said board member Michael Leary. "It ended up being kind of a disaster. I wouldn't want to see one of the property owners start feeling that they needed to put up a fence again."
A 30-day waiting period follows Monday's approval, after which the business should be near ready to open, Foster said.
The second business approved Monday is a three-room, one-suite bed and breakfast, to be located at 182 East Main St.
Owner Nancy Fritz has named the venture The Inn On East Main Street.
Fritz's family constructed the building, formerly a clothing store, in 1881. She moved back to the area in 2004 and saw it was on sale, and she resolved to revive a piece of family history.
"I always thought it'd be a wonderful idea [to open an inn there]," Fritz said.
According to Fritz, a "big open house" is scheduled for sometime in May.
Monday's final approval was for a new parking lot at the dirt lot at the corner of Blackinton and Ashland streets. David Moresi, of Moresi Associates, said his real estate company wants to put down an "attractive" parking lot there for students staying in the nearby apartments it owns.
"I'm getting a little ambitious; I want to redevelop that corner," Moresi said. "I think this really ties in nice with what's going on at the other end of Blackinton, which is the new [Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts] science center."
Board member Kyle Henlon agreed, and anticipated the new development.
"We've always been impressed with the quality of work [done by Moresi], and to have a private venture make a parking lot downtown is to be commended," he said.
The meeting wrapped up with a presentation by Judy Grinnell of Hoosic River Watershed Association.
The group has partnered with consultants Milone and MacBroom in imagining the future designs of what would likely be the largest project in decades. Flood control, aesthetics, quality of life for those nearby and economic vitality are some of the considerations in design.
Most of the concepts involve bringing the flood walls down in favor of a stepped-down or other approach. Modern engineering offers designs that are just as effective at flood control but easier on the eyes, Grinnell said.
"We may be doing two things at once -- rebuilding the chutes while making them more attractive," Grinnell said.
The flood chutes are 60 years old. Communities from Fitchburg to Los Angeles, Calif., have had success in similar undertakings. According to Grinnell the federal government has given its stamp of approval to this project.
A community meeting has been scheduled for June 15 at St. Elizabeth of Hungary church to further discuss the project.
To reach Phil Demers, email