Published in the October 3, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — For now, they will continue serving up mai tai’s and pu pu platters at the Bali Hai Restaurant.

The Zoning Board of Appeals continued a public hearing on the proposed Bali Hai apartment building project on Tuesday, Sept. 25. Lynnfield-based developers Matthew and David Palumbo have entered into a purchase and sale agreement on the 160 Moulton Dr. property. The developers are looking to construct an apartment building, the Residences at Suntaug Lake, at the site.

Atty. Ted Regnante told the ZBA the Palumbo brothers agreed to reduce the building from the originally proposed 32 units to 23 units. He said the apartment building would consist of 14 two-bedroom units and nine one-bedroom units. He said the apartment building would feature luxury units and would have no affordable housing.

Regnante said the building was reduced from three stories to two stories, and the height of the building was lowered from 34 feet to 26 feet. He said the development team reduced the number of residential parking spaces from 67 to 56.

“The 56 parking spaces would consist of two spaces per unit plus an additional 10 overflow spaces,” said Regnante. “We are also allocating 16 additional spaces for Little League to use during the season. When those spaces are not being used for Little League games, we will use those spaces for overflow parking.”

Regnante said the development team is not requesting any variances for the proposed apartment building. He said the development team is requesting the ZBA approve a Special Permit in order to change the nonconforming use from a restaurant to an apartment building.

“Under state law and Section 5 of our local bylaw, a nonconforming use may be changed to another nonconforming use as long as the new nonconforming use is not substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood than the existing use,” said Regnante. “What we are seeking from (the ZBA) is for a Special Permit to change the use to a 23-unit apartment building.”

Regnante argued the apartment building is less detrimental to the neighborhood because it’s a residential development instead of a commercial development. He said there would be less noise at the apartment building. He said there would no longer be “alcohol-related disturbances at the property.”

“The replacement of the Bali Hai Restaurant with the two-story, 23-unit apartment building would be a vast improvement for the neighborhood,” said Regnante.

The development team is also requesting the ZBA approve the project’s site plan.

Hayes Engineering President Peter Ogren said a traffic study was conducted in July, and claimed the apartment building would result in a minor traffic increase in the morning and there would be less traffic at night.

Fougere Planning and Development President Mark Fougere projected the apartment building would generate $63,000 in tax revenue, which is more than the $26,000 the Bali Hai generates. He also noted residents will be paying excise taxes, meals taxes and other fees.

Fougere also projected that between three and four children will call the apartment building home.

“It’s not a very big development,” said Fougere. “I don’t think there will be a huge influx into the schools.”


After the development team concluded its presentation, the ZBA asked residents to weigh in on the apartment building proposal.

ZBA Chairman Brian Shaffer inquired why the Planning Board voted to not recommend the project. Planning Board Chairman Brian Charville noted himself, Planning Board Vice Chairman Michael Sheehan and Planning Board member John Gioioso voted to not recommend the project. Planning Board members Katherine Flaws and Charlie Wills voted to recommend it.

“Speaking for myself, I don’t think when the statue was written or when the bylaw was written that this was the sort of use change that was envisioned,” said Charville. “I don’t think when Town Meeting passed the bylaw or when the General Court passed the statue that this was what they had in mind. It feels like a zoning change.”

The ZBA also requested residents to weigh in on the project, beginning with five supporters.

Karl Norgoal, 6 Oak St., expressed his support for the project.

“I am in favor of this project,” said Norgoal. “I think it would be a great improvement to what is their now. I would rather see an apartment building go in than another restaurant.”

Mohammad and Shagufta Saeed, 8 Oak St., both said they would rather live next door to an apartment building than the Bali Hai or another restaurant.

“I think this is a beautiful project,” said Mohammad Saeed. “Twenty three units is not a very large building, and they have provided more than sufficient parking and have made landscaping improvements.”

Shagufta Saeed agreed.

“The Bali Hai has always been a sore in the eye,” she said. “We would rather see a residential building than a restaurant there.”


Carl LaGreca, 5 Joseph Ln., urged opponents of the project to reconsider their opinions. He noted he previously lived near Crystal Motor Express Inc. for six years and said that was “a miserable time.”

“The abutters have an extremely good deal going on here,” said LaGreca. “I had to deal with a trucking company that moved behind my house that provided 24-hour service. I have known (the Palumbos) since they were children. They are wonderful people. They want the town to be better. Some developers don’t do what they say they are going to do. Look at what they have done. They have knocked this down to 23 units.”

LaGreca also questioned whether another restaurant would want to occupy the Bali Hai building.

“It’s not going to happen because the property is too valuable,” said LaGreca.

Pillings Pond Road resident Stephen Palladino said neighbors who frequently attended the Bali Hai were the bane of his family’s existence.

“My folks probably had to replace at least three mailboxes,” said Palladino. “If we are only talking about the character of the neighborhood, I think we really need to redefine the character of the neighborhood. As much as everyone says this is a detriment to what Lynnfield is, I don’t think it should define who we are as a community.”

Regnante also submitted seven letters from residents expressing their support for the project.

Due to time constraints, the ZBA allowed two opponents to express their opinions on the project.

Town Moderator Arthur Bourque, 116 Locksley Rd., said it costs between $12,000 and $13,000 to educate each student in the school system. He said the cost to educate the three to six students who would call the apartment building home would cost between $72,000 and $78,000.

“The $63,000 in revenue becomes moot,” said Bourque. “Bali Hai pays $26,000 and there is no educational expenses with that money. This is a net loss and not a net gain for the town from an educational perspective.”

While serving on the Board of Selectmen for 12 years, Bourque said the board “worked diligently to avoid spot zoning in any form including 40B.”

“Even though this is not 40B, that is what is going on here,” said Bourque. “We have a grandfathered use, which is effectively trying to get a board to say yes to putting this 23-unit apartment building in a residential neighborhood. It’s not a residential use, it’s a commercial use. These are not good neighbors. These are transient people who stay for a year or so and then leave.”

Bourque said if the ZBA approves the project, it would set a bad precedent that could impact other nonconforming uses located in residential parts of town.

Anthony Auterio, 106 Moulton Dr., said he has lived in the area since 2000 and has had no issues living next to the Bali Hai.

“Our homes are the most valuable assets we have,” said Auterio. “We have worked hard to achieve that and we want to protect it. I am concerned about the additional strain placed on the Police Department and Fire Department. When you have that many people living in close proximity, you have an enormous amount of calls to the Police Department such as neighbor disputes, parking disputes, neighbor disturbances, break-ins, parties and people coming and going all the time. We don’t have that with single-family homes.”

Auterio also expressed concerns about the increase in traffic associated with the apartment building.

“I don’t think it’s good to have this monstrosity in the neighborhood,” said Auterio.

After Auterio concluded his remarks, the ZBA voted to continue the discussion to a special meeting on Nov. 20. ZBA Chairman Brian Shaffer noted more opponents will be allowed to speak at the Nov. 20 meeting.