Hermon St.Residents Oppose Development

WINTHROP – If last night’s meeting of the town council was any indicator this coming Tuesday night’s joint meeting of the town’s Rules and Ordinance and Public Safety Committee could be lively one.

Last night the town council voted to extend the public hearing for a petition to change the zoning of 60 Hermon St. by placing it in a special development overlay district (SDOD) as opposed to the Residential A zone it is in now. The SDOD designation is a special zoning area used to encourage the reuse of a property and must meet special criteria. The council received a petition from 29 abutters who oppose any development because the area is congested with a narrow street and the Cummings School is a direct abutter.

The property owner, Ocean City Development, is represented by attorney Richard Lynds, who claimed he was not aware last night’s meeting was a public hearing and therefore not prepared for the council’s action. He wanted the council to vote on the SDOD and make his presentation to the Planning Board, which already voted 7-0 to send the SDOD request to the town council. Neighbors could not see that happening since no one has told them how many units are planned for the property. Lynds told them that it is undetermined at this time how many units will be constructed.

“I have a problem with something being approved without knowing what’s going in,” said Richard Nicoletti of 14 Hermon St.

Neighbors said they have heard that it could be six, eight or 12 units. John Cataldo of 72 Hermon St. urged the council to do a site visit. He questions the measurements and whether or not a retaining wall would be needed near his property.

“We have a petition here from 29 abutters who live within 300 feet,” said Councilor Paul Varone. “The people I represent have clearly said they don’t want this.”

The joint subcommittee meeting on this issue will meet in town hall, room 2 at 7 pm, Tuesday, Jan. 13.

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