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Salem board gives OK for expanded funeral home parking

SALEM — The owner of the Douglas-Johnson Funeral Home on Main Street has received permission to fix and expand the business’ parking from the Planning Board.

Last month, the funeral home got a variance from the zoning board to allow for a larger lot coverage than is allowed in the business-office district.

The funeral home was allowed in the district by a variance in 1990, according to project engineer Joseph Maynard.

The owner now wants to repave the parking lot, and in doing so, improve it, according to Maynard.

“Therefore, in order to achieve that, they had to increase the parking by a little over 1,000 square feet of impervious surface,” said Maynard.

The change will allow the funeral home to increase sizes of the parking spaces so they are up to regulation, increase some of the aisle widths and add seven new parking spaces to the 48 existing spaces in the lot.

The plan includes replacing two raised islands in the parking lot with striped islands, which will ease parking lot maintenance and snow removal.

Town Planning Director Ross Moldoff said there weren’t a lot of issues with the funeral home’s site plan, although he said there were some concerns about a wetlands area on abutting school property.

Planning Board member Linda Harvey said that while the property is not owned by the funeral home, the town may want to look at ways to help improve the condition of the wetlands as property around it is developed.

Students from the high school have studied the wetlands by the high school and public library and found the quality to be unhealthy, Harvey said.

“At some point, we want to do something about that,” said Harvey. “The problem requires better drainage treatment from the businesses as they come in or redevelop.”

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