WAKEFIELD — “I think it’s the best thing that ever could have happened,” said Conservation Commission Chairman Frank J. Luciani Jr., speaking of the land swap that Town Meeting approved this week resolving a 27 year-old dispute between a land-owner and the town.

The Town Meeting action authorized the Board of Selectmen to petition the legislature to enact special legislation permitting the town to exchange parcels of land in the Stark Avenue area with builder Elias Anjim.

“I think that the selectmen did a great job,” Luciani said at the commission’s meeting last night. “This whole thing was just a story about a broken promise and the town was the one that broke the promise. It took 27 years and this group of selectmen to make it right.”

Back in 1987, Anjim wanted to build on a piece of property he owned and got the town’s OK to use an adjacent town-owned parcel as a retention area for needed water storage. In exchange, Anjim agreed to give the town another parcel that he owned. This arrangement was included in a Conservation Commission Order of Conditions.

But Town Meeting declined to approve the use of the town-owned lot for a private developer’s purposes. The deal was voided because the town did not hold up its end but Anjim’s agreement to give the parcel he owned to the town was never removed from the Order of Conditions. Earlier this year, Anjim wanted to build a home on that parcel and asked the town to release the Order.

The Conservation Commission agreed to release the Order of Conditions but the Board of Selectmen, after hearing from Stark Avenue neighbors, declined to accept a conservation easement that was key to the agreement and the deal collapsed.

The land swap approved by Town Meeting this week was also favored by neighbors in the Stark Avenue area who believe that by acquiring the two parcels from Anjim the town can prevent development that would worsen flooding in that neighborhood.

Under the land swap plan town would convey to Anjim a 1.31 acre buildable lot on Upland Road and receive from Anjim two parcels for conservation purposes – one on Holland Road consisting of 2.65 acres and one fronting on Stark Avenue consisting of 1.53 acres.

“It was a great solution,” Luciani said.


The commission met with attorney Ted Regnante, who was representing the Sheraton Colonial Hotel on Audubon Road. He told the commission that the Sheraton was under a purchase and sale agreement to be sold to a group of investors. He said that the hotel would continue to be operated as a Sheraton.

As part of the sale, Regnante said, he needed to get Certificates of Compliance from both the towns of Wakefield and Lynnfield. He said that Lynnfield had agreed to use consultant Bob Jones, who had on behalf of both towns reviewed National Development’s plans that ultimately became MarketStreet. National Development owns the property that the Sheraton is on.

Regnante was asking the ConCom to agree to have Jones also review the request for a Certificate of Compliance for Wakefield, as it would be more cost effective to have one reviewer working for both towns.

The Commission ultimately agreed that given the small amount of area in Wakefield involved, it made sense to agree to Regnante’s request.


The ConCom OK’d a homeowner’s plans to install an above ground swimming pool at 110 New Salem St. after the property owner agreed to shift the position of the pool to remove it from the floodplain and move it further away from the wetland.

Peter DiBernardo of Gibraltar Pools in Peabody represented the applicants. He initially proposed a location for the pool that placed it in the 100-year floodplain and was told by the Commission that was not allowed unless he created compensatory water storage elsewhere on the property.

DiBernardo told the commission that the homeowners would agree to relocate the pool completely outside the flood plane, which would also increase its distance from the resource area.

Satisfied, the commission closed the hearing and issued the standard conditions for the project. In addition, DiBernardo will have to file a new plan showing the new location for the pool.


The Commission also closed their hearing on a subdivision at 181 Salem St. consisting of one existing home and one proposed new home. The development had been through a series of ConCom hearings where the focus was on drainage and proximity to the wetland. The project was ultimately scaled back from the original proposal for two new homes. A new street on the original plans was reduced to little more than a driveway.

Last night, engineer Rick Salvo and attorney Brian McGrail presented some final details before the Commission closed the hearing. The ConCom agreed to issue the standard Order of Conditions as well as one regarding the use of sand on the driveway in the winter. Another condition related to an operations and management plan for the subdivision.