Published in the October 5, 2016 edition.
By DAN TOMASELLO
LYNNFIELD — A local developer is looking to construct a new apartment building at the current location of the Bali Hai Restaurant, 93 Moulton Dr.
In a phone interview with the Villager, attorney Jay Kimball said Ashley Court resident and developer Gregg Monastiero has an agreement to purchase the Bali Hai and is looking to redevelop the property as an apartment building. Monastiero Development built the Windsor Estates townhouses at 527 Salem St.
Kimball, Monastiero and engineer Richard Williams from the firm Williams and Sparages met with the property’s abutters during a meeting at the Meeting House Sept. 28.
“I think the meeting went well,” said Kimball. “The neighbors asked a lot of good questions. It was more positive than negative.”
According to Kimball, Monastiero was originally looking to build a four-story apartment building but decided to reduce the size of the building to three stories. Kimball said several abutters requested Monastiero to look into building a two-story apartment building instead.
Kimball said Monastiero wants to build a parking lot for the apartment’s residents beneath the building, but that plan would be a challenge if the building gets reduced to two-stories. The number of planned units has yet to be determined.
“It depends on how the plans get reconfigured,” said Kimball.
Additionally, Kimball said visitor parking will be located outside of the building.
Kimball said Monastiero will be requesting the Zoning Board of Appeals to approve a special permit in order for the apartment building to be constructed. He said the Bali Hai is located in a residential zone and the restaurant has been grandfathered in because the restaurant was built before the zoning regulations.
“The apartment building would remain non-conforming but the Board of Appeals would need to approve a change in the non-conforming use from restaurant to residential,” said Kimball.
Kimball said Monastiero has not yet filed for the special permit because “we have to take a look at the revised plans.”
Additionally, Kimball said the Planning Board will have a right to review the apartment project even though “the permit granting authority is the Board of Appeals.”
Kimball said he sent “more notices than the ZBA requires” to the Bali Hai’s abutters about the informal meeting. While he said, “the abutters had a lot of concerns,” Kimball said many of the residents who attended the meeting “are not happy with the restaurant.”
“We feel this would be a better use of the property and would be less intrusive to the neighbors,” said Kimball. “
Kimball said he will be setting up another meeting with the abutters “within a few weeks.”
“We think it will be in a relatively short period of time,” said Kimball.
Resident airs concerns
In a letter to the editor sent to the Villager, Locksley Road resident Patrick Curley expressed concerns about the apartment building proposal. He said he attended an informal meeting about the project at the Meeting House last week.
During the session, Curley said he expressed concerns that the proposed building was “inappropriate for the small site, for the single family residential neighborhood and the Suntaug Lake habitat.” He said other residents “expressed a range of concerns including traffic, utilities, parking and density.”