Neighbors of a proposed development on Walden Street gathered last Thursday night in the E.B. Newton building to find out what could happen at the site of the old Muffin Town. This Tuesday night the issue is expected to go before the Town Council again.
Jack Anderson, owner of the property at 15-17 Walden St., also known as PJP Realty Trust, LLC, is seeking to change the zoning from commercial to Special Development Overlay District. An SDOD designation is intended to encourage the reuse of property and meets special criteria. The process of obtaining the SDOD includes going to the planning board first, then to the town council and then back to the planning board for final details. Anderson did not attend the meeting.
At this point, according to his lawyer David McCool, Anderson has plans, which include a three-level, 20 unit building with parking underneath.
“We don’t want a building on steroids,” said Lincoln Street resident Denise Quist.
Neighbors are concerned about the height of the building, traffic, parking, noise, the impact on schools and property values.
Precinct 1 Councillor Paul Varone and Precinct 2 Councillor James Letterie hosted the informational meeting.
Letterie told residents that the Planning Board would have to listen to the concerns and take them into consideration. Many residents expressed no faith in the developer’s plans. They would like to see flexibility in the designs and plans, also a reduction in the number of units.
“Eight units doesn’t make economic sense,” McCool said.
Currently the building has a fitness facility in it. Many residents questioned how the change of use was allowed if a permit was obtained. They also questioned the handicap accessibility of the business and the bathroom facilities.
Maureen Moro, a direct abutter, said she didn’t want the building to be intrusive. She explained that she would like to have solar panels install on her house but cannot if Anderson sticks to a 35-foot high building.
“A massive imposing building doesn’t fit,” said Short Street resident Michele Costello.
Read Street resident Jim Soper, who is also building commissioner in Everett, said the design should take into consideration the entrance to the center of town. He encouraged neighbors to stick together in visits to the Planning Board and Town Council.
What neighbors really wanted last week was to be able to talk with Anderson. It was point out that when a Hermon Street SDOD was discussed the developers were at every meeting.
“It goes a long way in trust to have the developer in,” Letterie said.
The public hearing on this proposal will continue at the Town Council meeting Tuesday night at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.
Sue Ellen Woodcock can be reached at [email protected].