23 Aug 2014
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'Nightmare' on Humphrey Street To Be Replaced

The owner of a residential building with single rooms for rent on Humphrey Street won approval from the ZBA to convert them to apartments. Police officers and firefighters are regularly called to the building.

'Nightmare' on Humphrey Street To Be Replaced

A nightmare for the police and an embarrassment for the owners of the single room residential building at 242-246 Humphrey Street may soon come to an end.

William Gateman, who owns the mixed-use building, and building manager Julius Sokol won approval Wednesday night from the to convert seven single rooms for rent into four one- and two-bedroom apartments.

The three-story building, which has a hair salon, nail salon and coffee shop on the first floor, is visited daily by the or , Sokol said.

"It is a nightmare for the police and an embarrassment for the owner," he said.

Natalie Gould, who has lived behind the building for 32 years, said, "I have been praying something good would happen with that building."

Her husband said he would miss some of the "sideshows" from the current residents.

Sokol said the building is currently 60 percent vacant because it is too embarrassing to have so many calls from the police and fire departments to handle issues with the residents.

The building, constructed originally in the 1920s as a single room residence, was described by architect Richard Smith as aesthetically attractive. But it needs refurbishing and to be redesigned internally into apartments that would be leased for at least a year, Sokol said.

"That will cut down on the transient population," ZBA board member Harry Pass said.

The ZBA approved the plans for the building with several conditions. The conditions included redesigning the signs for the retail shops to conform to the new town regulations and prohibiting air conditioning units on the front of the building. The board also gave the owners 12 months to complete the construction and stop renting single rooms.

Sokol and Gateman said there would be no financial gain from renting apartments versus renting single rooms. But there would be fewer "headaches," Sokol said.

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