Published in the July 29, 2016 edition.


WAKEFIELD — The trend toward mixed-use, residential-above-retail development in the downtown area continues as the Zoning Board of Appeals last week approved the application of Robert Santonelli for a Special Permit that will allow him to create two apartments on the third floor of the building he owns at 23 Water St.

Santonelli was represented by attorney Brian McGrail.

The building is currently home to Caffé Italia and a bakery on the rear lower level. Santonelli wants to convert current office space on the third floor into apartments.

Among other downtown properties that Santonelli owns are the building that houses the Dollar Tree at 376 Main St. and the Horizon House building at 78 Water St.

Santonelli said that there would be fire sprinklers and fire alarms throughout the entire 23 Water St. building, as required by the Wakefield Fire Department.

The Special Permit requested was for a reduction from the requirements for off-street parking.

ZBA members noted that under the bylaw the requirements for parking for residential use would actually be less than what is required for the current office use.

Santonelli agreed to provide a suitable provision for trash and recycling for the apartments. He also agreed to conditions related to storm water drainage.

The ZBA unanimously approved the Special Permit.


The ZBA granted a variance that will allow Harlan and Cathryn Woods to put additions on their 12 Chapman Rd. home.

Attorney Brian McGrail explained that the Woods wanted to put a one story addition on the left side and a two story addition in the rear. They were also interested in attaching the garage and putting a second story on the garage.

McGrail said that main reason for the variance was because, while the detached garage is 7.5 feet from the property line and meets the setback requirements, once you attach the garage to the house the setback requirement is 15 feet. The lot narrows, making it a unique situation, McGrail explained.

A signed petition of support from neighbors was submitted.

But one neighbor, Bill Santosuosso of 378 Salem St., wanted to know if the house was being turned into a two-family.

It was pointed out that the house is in the single-residence district and two-families are not allowed.

Linda Santosuosso asked about Assessors’ records and inspections. She was advised to direct those questions to the Assessing Department.

The board voted unanimously to grant the requested variance and made a determination that the second floor addition to the garage did not increase the existing non-conformity.


The board granted a dimensional variance that will allow a small house in the rear of 27 Evergreen St. to be taken down and rebuilt. The applicant argued that the change would make the property more conforming and meet today’s setback requirements. The ZBA agreed and made findings to that effect.


The board also voted to allow the modification of an existing variance so that Honda Gallery on North Avenue can take down a sign seen mainly from Route 128 and replace it with a smaller, simpler sign. The ZBA had approved the larger sign in 2010. The existing sign is 67 feet high. The new sign will be 65 feet.

Attorney Brian McGrail explained that while Honda Gallery is in Reading, the sign by the side of the highway is in Wakefield.

No one from the public testified at the hearing.

The vote to allow the new sign was unanimous.