Published in the October 10, 2019 edition.


WAKEFIELD — Developer Anthony Bonacorso will be able to build his 173-unit 40B apartment complex on Tarrant Lane now that the Zoning Board of Appeals, in a unanimous decision last night, has granted Bonacorso the necessary relief to go ahead with the project.

The development will be built on property off Hopkins Street near the Reading line that was once used by the Coast Guard to house the families of officers. In 2017, Bonacorso purchased the 3.4-acre site from the federal government for $3.6 million.

The original plan was to build 190 units in three five-story buildings, but over the course of nearly a full year of hearings in front of the ZBA, the development was scaled back and redesigned.

The final project will consist of three residential buildings, plus a clubhouse. There will be nine studio units, 94 one-bedroom units, 52 two-bedroom units and 18 three-bedroom units. Twenty-five percent of the units will be “affordable” as defined under Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 40B. But since the units will be rentals, all 173 units can be counted toward the town’s affordable housing inventory as the town inches toward the 10 percent affordable housing threshold.

Bonacorso has been represented throughout the process by the office of local attorney Ted Regnante.

Regnante told the board last night that the past month has been spent making sure all the final plans were submitted and creating the 30-page draft decision and conditions for the board’s consideration. He said that a ZBA subcommittee of Greg McIntosh and Ami Wall met with the development team in recent weeks to go over the final submitted plans and the decision prior to last night’s meeting.

“We think we’ve included everything that we’ve discussed,” Regnante said.

McIntosh said that he read through the draft decision to make sure that all the conditions that the board had requested were included. He outlined a process to be followed if any minor changes are made going forward. Triggers for more substantial modifications are included in the state 40B regulations, he said.

The decision includes a requirement that the developer pay the town $140,000 to help with the cost of bringing Wakefield water across the Hopkins Street Bridge to the project.

After some further discussion, board members indicated that they were satisfied and did not require any further information.

Chairman David Hatfield opened the hearing one final time to public testimony, but no one was present last night to speak on the project.

ZBA member Chip Tarbell made the motion to grant the Comprehensive Permit and approve all conditions, waivers and findings as set forth in the decision.

The five members who voted unanimously to approve the motion had attended every hearing on the project. They were Chairman David Hatfield, Ami Wall, Chip Tarbell, Jim McBain and Greg McIntosh.

After the closing of the public hearing last night, the board has 40 days to file the decision with the town clerk’s office. Once the decision is filed, if there are no appeals within 20 days the developer will present an application to MassHousing for final approval.

Bonacorso said after last night’s ZBA decision that the start of any work on the site is still several months away as the remainder of the process plays out.