By MARK SARDELLA
WAKEFIELD — The Zoning Board of Appeals continued discussions this week with a builder who wants to redevelop a long vacant and run-down property at 14 Nahant St. and create two new house lots. The property in question is near the northeast corner of Main and Nahant streets, behind a small strip mall on Main Street.
The site in question is split between the commercial and residential districts.
Developer Paul DiBiase wants to raze a run-down building at that address and construct two duplex homes on the site. DiBiase recently redeveloped the former Ox Bow Pet Shop site and has said that 14 Nahant St. would be a similar type of project.
Joining DiBiase at Wednesday’s hearing were his attorney, Brian McGrail and engineer John Ogren of Hayes Engineering. Ogren told the ZBA that he had incorporated on the plans the board’s previous suggestion to move the front house further back from Nahant Street. Ogren acknowledged that moving the house back would provide enough space for a wall or some additional landscaping in front.
In order to move the front house back, Ogren said that he had shifted the rear house on the plans slightly toward Main Street, which also afforded more yard space, as the board had also suggested.
Charles and Patricia Sem, owners of the adjacent commercial plaza on Main Street reiterated concerns over density and parking that they had expressed at a previous hearing.
Charles Sem said that a grass strip added to the plans did not sufficiently address the lack of adequate parking on the site. He said that he was concerned that guests of occupants of the homes would park in his lot. The neighbors shouldn’t have to take on that burden, he said.
But McGrail pointed out that the plans met the parking requirements under the bylaw and scaling back the project would make it less economically feasible.
Patricia Sem acknowledged that the site at present is “an eyesore,” and any new use of the property would be an improvement.
But she said that she feared that as her business tenants lose parking she would lose tenants. She noted that she and her husband have retired to New Hampshire and are not in a position to police the lot every day.
McGrail denied that there would be as many cars as the Sems feared and again stressed that the project meets the bylaw with respect to parking. He said that the proper remedy for illegal parking was to call the police and have the vehicle towed.
DiBiase offered to help the Sems with new signage to make it clear that parking is for business customers only.
The hearing was continued to Jan. 14, 2015.
The ZBA met with John MacLellan, owner of JG MacLellan Concrete Company at 1 New Salem St. MacLellan has been seeking a finding that would allow him to make certain upgrades to his property and to the processes used to make concrete on the site.
The ZBA had asked him to address noise from the site and MacLellan agreed to do a sound study. As a result of that study’s findings, a planned wall along Vernon Street will be increased in height to 11 feet to better mitigate noise.
MacLellan also agreed that at night he will move an ice trailer to the rear of the site. Noise from the compressor used to cool the ice trailer has been a source of complaints from neighbors, especially in the summer.
The board asked to see an operations and management plan for the site when the hearing continues on Jan. 14.
The ZBA approved modifications to plans related to improvements made at Greenwood Plaza. The board discussed with Greenwood Plaza owner Michael Casoli and attorney McGrail various items, including work related to a wall near a proposed outdoor seating area for a future Chinese restaurant.
Heather Marino, owner of an abutting business, raised parking concerns, pointing out that Casoli had received approval for restaurant seating up to 225 people, whereas the entire plaza only has 62 parking spaces.
ZBA chairman David Hatfield said that parking was part of a decision issued over a year ago and noted that the board typically grants relief from parking requirements for restaurants.
The board will walk the new Cumberland Farms site at 200 Lowell St. to determine if work is sufficiently completed in accordance with permitting. Cumberland Farms is seeking a Certificate of Occupancy so that it can open next week. Attorney John T. Smolak asked the board to recommend that Building Inspector Jack Roberto issue the Occupancy Permit.
The ZBA decision requires all work to be complete before the issuance of an Occupancy Permit but the ZBA agreed to accept from Cumberland Farms $74,700 in surety toward the future completion of landscaping, inlaid crosswalks and the installation along a traffic island of reflectorized delineator posts and pavement markers.
The board granted Special Permits that will allow the use of 910 Main St. (the former Melrose Paint building in Greenwood) as a warehouse and offices for Sigma Property Solutions, LLC, a company that does apartment rehabs.