Published in the November 8, 2017 edition


LYNNFIELD — A two-lot subdivision is being eyed for the Perley Burrill property on Salem Street in South Lynnfield, Selectman Phil Crawford said Monday.

Crawford said the Perley Burrill property clean-up process has been completed. He said the town is working to develop an engineering plan that will be brought to the Planning Board this winter.

“It would be a two-lot subdivision for that location,” said Crawford.

After the Planning Board signs off on the two-lot subdivision proposal, Crawford said the town will create a request for proposals (RFP) in order to sell the property. The selectmen voted to foreclose on the Perley Burrill property in August 2016 in the wake of former owner Joseph Pedeto failing to pay back taxes to the town. The selectmen were able to foreclose on the property because the Brownfields Act allows cities and towns to foreclose on properties for non-payment of taxes. The state law also ensures towns are not liable for any environmental clean up costs.

“We are getting much closer to getting Perley Burrill finished and cleaned up,” said Crawford. “It has been a five-year ordeal for this board and we are getting closer to the end.”

In response to a question from Fairview Avenue resident Joe Duhaime, Crawford said local officials need to develop an engineering plan in order for the Planning Board to approve the two-lot subdivision proposal.

“As an approved two-lot subdivision, it makes it more marketable for us to put the lots up for sale,” said Crawford. “That is our goal. There is a $400,000 minimum price on it because that is what the town is owed between the back taxes and the clean up work that has been done. To maximize what the town may realize with the sale, going to the Planning Board makes the most sense at this point.”

Crawford said local officials’ goal is to present the plans at a Planning Board meeting in January.

“We will make an announcement when we are ready to do that,” said Crawford.

Duhaime said he and many of his neighbors believe two house lots at the property would be “ideal.”

Crawford said, “all the town can do at this point is two house lots” because Pedoto sold two other lots. Crawford informed the Villager in a phone interview that Pedoto was able to use the one-year redemption period allowed by state law and paid the back taxes on the two small lots. Afterwards, Pedoto sold the lots to Lynnfield resident Michael Merullo.

“There is a 3,000 square foot lot on Witham Street and a 6,500 square foot lot off of Fairview,” said Crawford during the meeting. “Those lots do not belong to the town.”

Duhaime inquired if the two lots owned by Merullo are buildable.

Crawford wasn’t sure if the 6,500 square foot lot is buildable, but said “it’s not part of the lot that the town owns.”

“The only thing we can get approved by the Planning Board at this point is the two-lot subdivision,” said Crawford. “And that is all we are going for. They have already looked at it on a preliminary basis and they liked it. They wanted us to come back with engineering plans so we can get a subdivision approved over there so we can put it up for sale.”

Town Administrator Jim Boudreau said the property’s abutters will be notified about the Planning Board meeting in advance.

Duhaime expressed his support for the proposal.

“I think it would be perfect for the neighborhood,” said Duhaime. “Four homes or more would be way too many there. It would create too much traffic and it wouldn’t fit well with the neighborhood.”

While Duhaime expressed support for the two-lot subdivision proposal, he expressed concerns about the two adjoining lots.

“I would propose we put a deed restriction on it so those adjoining lots couldn’t be married,” said Duhaime. “That would allow them to put four or more homes in there.”

Crawford noted there are other properties in town that have deed restrictions including Centre Farm.

“We can certainly look at that as an option, but it may cause a problem with the resale if there are restrictions on it,” said Crawford.

Duhaime inquired when the Perley Burrill property will be put up for sale.

If the Planning Board approves the project in January, Crawford anticipates an RFP will be created “sometime in early February.” He told Duhaime to forward the deed restriction request to Town Hall, and said he will review the request with Town Counsel Tom Mullen.

Selectman Dick Dalton proposed that the selectmen hold a meeting before the Planning Board meeting where the proposal would get presented and local residents will have an opportunity to ask questions.

“I think we need to get the issue out in the public eye so everyone is comfortable,” said Dalton. “I will be asking to schedule a meeting before the Planning Board meeting so we have a plan of action that the neighbors would be happy with.”

“I think that would be helpful for the neighbors and would give us plenty of time so neighbors could attend,” said Duhaime. “We have been waiting a long time to make this right over there, and we have one chance to do it. Let’s do it right now because it has taken so much time to do.”

Similar to previous discussions about Perley Burrill, Selectmen Chairman Chris Barrett recused himself from the discussion because he is an abutter.