Several neighbors showed up in opposition to a townhouse project on Lamson Street, but Ward 6 Councillor Charlie Patch said he hadnâ€™t decided on the proposal â€“ as City Hall officials have spoke highly in favor of it.
Bob Corcoran of Boxford is proposing to buy the long-time construction yard on Lamson Street/Marble Street from Edwward Robichaud, of Randolph, and build six townhouses on the 17,668 sq. ft. site. The townhouses would consist of five three-bedroom units and one two-bedroom. Parking would be on site, but would utilize tandem parking.
Corcoran built similar townhouses on Revere Beach Parkway about 15 years ago, and those units have had nary a complaint in the years they have existed.
The Zoning Board of Appeals already approved variances for the project on July 30.
On Monday, the Council held its first vetting of the project for a special permit that would clear the project for construction.
Three residents spoke against the project, saying they were concerned about traffic and water/sewer situations.
â€œOur street is a horseshoe and itâ€™s one of the busiest streets in the neighborhood,â€ said Andrea Robichaud. â€œTo add 12 cars to that street is going to be outrageous. Itâ€™s too congested as it is.â€
Rita Pesce said she and her husband, Joseph, of Marble Street, were against the project. â€œYou have a serious water problem and a serious sewage problem on Marble Street right now,â€ she said. â€œThe water situation is very dangerous. We all have sump pumps and we are all concerned when it rains. The groundwater is very high.â€
Rob DeMattia, who rents an office in Edwward Robichaudâ€™s 41 Marble St. office, said he felt it didnâ€™t fit.
â€œSeveral years ago there was a huge problem with parking at his office building,â€ said DeMattia. â€œThe solution was he used part of his construction yard for parking for the office. Now, if you take away those spaces to sell the yard, the parking problems are going to come back.â€
Patch said he discounted anything DeMattia said due to a beef DeMattia has with the owner of the property.
DeMattia said after the meeting that he took great offense to how he was treated by his own ward councillor. He said he thought he was bringing serious concerns to the table and felt he was minimized.
That said, Patch said it was a tough situation.
â€œMy family lives on Victoria Street; my sister still lives in the family homestead,â€ he said. â€œI remember when [Corcoran] built the townhouses on the Parkway. The neighbors were against them and when they saw the finished project, they were happy. Change is hard, but itâ€™s going to happenâ€¦Iâ€™m at the will of the neighbors, but Iâ€™m worried what else could go there. Another construction yard could go there and we wouldnâ€™t even have a vote on it.â€
City Economic Development Director John Festa said they turned away several developers for the site, but felt Corcoran had a solid plan.
â€œThis was six units and low density and we were concerned about what other things could come in there in the future,â€ he said. The matter was referred to the Zoning Committee for further review.