CAMBRIDGE SPRINGS — Todd and Marcelina “Marcy” Confer have big plans for a historic building in Cambridge Springs Borough that has stood vacant for several years.
The Confers plan to purchase the youth activities building at 330 McClellan Street. They own the adjoining property at 322 McClellan Street, which houses the Mirror Image salon.
The Confers plan to open a kayak and canoe rental business, a bait shop and eventually an outfitter shop on the first floor and an Airbnb on the second floor.
But the building is located in a residential area for multi-family use R-2. The Cambridge Springs Borough Zoning Hearing Board held a public hearing on August 15 to consider an appeal from Marcelina Confer, who requested a use waiver to operate the business in the residential area.
Board members Tim Hahn, chairman, and members Linda Bogda and Dwayne Ferrington, unanimously approved a motion to grant the waiver, but not before asking Confers several questions and not without contingencies.
Confer said it will provide shuttle service for those renting their kayaks and canoes. She said they would also like to sell bait and fishing tackle from a store on the first floor, where the rental business would be. The activity would be seasonal.
Hahn asked for opening hours.
“We would like six days a week, but it would be open Thursday through Sunday until we were really operational,” Confer said. “It will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m., so we can pick everyone up before dark.”
Hahn also asked how many kayaks they would have for rent. Confer said they would like to start with 15-20. They would like to have a fenced off area at the back of the left side of the building as a place to keep kayaks and canoes locked up.
Hahn also asked how many parking spaces would be available and whether she was planning alternate access from McClellan Street.
Confer said she would like 10 spaces between the two properties and would like another sidewalk exit.
Lawyer Alan Shaddinger said the two-story building is 44ft long and 28ft wide and asked if the Confers were planning to expand. They said they had no expansion plans.
Shaddinger also said Confers must meet all Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.
Zoning officer LJ Lydic Jr. said they would be required to have ADA access in the building. Todd Confer said there was a little ramp there.
Marcy Confer said that for the Airbnb upstairs, she hopes to have two bedrooms, a kitchen, a living room, and a full bathroom.
The Zoning Hearing Board has approved the application for waiver of use with the following contingencies:
• The Confers buy the property (the sale was not finalized last Monday).
• Confers receive access approval from the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation for second curbside access if needed because McClellan Street is a state highway.
• Confers follow borough rules for an Airbnb (an Airbnb ordinance was approved at a subsequent borough council meeting).
• Signage and outdoor lighting rules apply.
• Confers must follow borough building code requirements.
• Conferences must follow ADA access requirements for the building.
After the vote, Hahn said, “It’s nice to see someone who appreciates history keeping the building.”
In the past, the building has been used by youth groups, 4-H clubs, extension service programs, and Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops. The building was also used for private parties and other gatherings.
Until 1953 the building was owned by George B. Smith and Howard VanMatre and was called Petticord Springs Proper. In 1953, Smith and VanMatre donated the building to Youth Activities.
Cambridge Springs Inc. Nonprofit Youth Activities was established in 1952 to facilitate youth development programs. This year, the organization was reincorporated by volunteers in order to take the necessary steps to determine the future of the building.
The Confers are pleased to have the opportunity to purchase the building and are delighted to use it for the benefit of the Cambridge community as well as visitors to the area.
“We’re happy to be part of this community, and I think what anyone can contribute to help grow it is a plus for everyone who lives here,” Marcy said.
And the company will help outdoor and water enthusiasts enjoy what French Creek has to offer.
In order to be more involved in what French Creek has to offer, Marcy became a member of the French Creek Valley Conservancy (FCVC), a non-profit land trust working in the French Creek watershed in the northwest section. of State. The FCVC has launch areas in Cambridge Springs.
Marcy also wants to work with the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission.
The Confers are excited to embark on their new venture.
“We have some really cool ideas,” Marcy said.