ROCKLAND — A Foundation that supports the arts in Rockland is closer to constructing a 4,400-square-foot residence that will be able to house up to four artists at a time.

The Rockland Planning Board approved Tuesday night, Nov. 16 the site plan for the Ellis-Beauregard Foundation.  The residence will be built on 6 and 12 Knowlton St. The Planning Board only has to issue its finding of facts for the Foundation to apply and receive its permits to build.

The Board toured the property earlier in the day. The City Council discontinued the public way on Knowlton Street for $25,000, which makes that former public road a private way for the Foundation. The Foundation owns much of both sides of the street.

The organization filed its application for the $700,000 project on July 13. Last year, the foundation filed an application for a contract zone, but did not pursue that route.

Currently, the organization leases space in the Lincoln Street Center for artists to live and work. An attempt was made to purchase the Lincoln Street Center, but an agreement could not be reached with its owners.

The foundation purchased two properties on Knowlton Street in September 2020.

The issue only goes before the Planning Board because the building would be built on two lots that are being combined, and the houses that were there were non-conforming, because the two lots were smaller than what existing zoning allows. The new building will be less non-conforming than the prior homes.

The offices of the foundation are located in a large home across from where the new house would be built.

The Rockland Planning Board toured Nov. 16 the site of the planned new residence on Knowlton Street. Photo by Stephen Betts

The intersection of Knowlton and Gay streets. Photo by Stephen Betts