May 21, 2017
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — Two zoning articles recommended by the Planning Board Thursday will be on the table for discussion at tonight’s Town Meeting.
The panel supported a recommendation on two articles.
In one, Eagle Road residents are asking that their properties, currently zoned strictly for residential use, be rezoned for commercial use. The proposal affects 42-61 Eagle Road, located behind Barn Carwash and C & P Imports.
One of the homes is vacant, one is rented, and three are owner-occupied. Other lots in the mix do not have structures on them.
Rosemarie Zondiros, who owns three of lots, is in full support of the movement.
“I have lived on Eagle Road for 33 years and this is tough for me but I have seen all of the changes,” Zondiros said. “When I moved there it was a nice neighborhood. It’s not ever going to be a neighborhood again.”
Committee member Dennis Moschella said he patrolled the area while working as a police officer and agreed that it would never be the residential space it once was.
Town Planner Krista Leahy pointed out that only one of the lots meets the 40,000 square-foot minimum land requirement set by the town that a developer would need to construct on the land.
“Before you go and zone this, realize that you might have trouble selling these properties,” Leahy said. “It’s not just as simple as changing the title of your land.”
Attorney Richard Magnan, who represents most of the land owners, said the residents are aware of the requirement and he believes they have plans to merge the properties together for the redevelopment.
The board voted unanimously to recommend the article to Town Meeting.
In the second article, members will also discuss whether a Winston Street development should be allowed to build seven units without making one affordable, as specified in the town’s bylaws for properties with more than four units.
Eight years ago, the panel and Town Meeting approved a 10-unit condominium building to be built on the former Alco Food Products, Inc., site. Part of the agreement was for developers to include one affordable unit, Rossetti said.
But in almost a decade, the work has not been completed. Developers returned to the Planning Board earlier this year to request a change in the plan. Rather than constructing one 10-unit building, they want to build two duplexes and one triplex. None of the seven units would be lower priced.
Rossetti said the use wouldn’t qualify for the same zoning and Town Meeting members would need to take a vote. But he added that the panel has no jurisdiction over affordability.
Leahy voiced opposition to allowing the developer to be exempt from the bylaw.
“We’re under 10 percent (affordability) and need to get to 10 percent,” she said. “Any bit we can add to our affordable housing stock we should be doing.”
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte.