May 22, 2017
By BRIDGET TURCOTTE
SAUGUS — In the third Town Meeting session Monday night, members worked through six of the 12 remaining articles on the warrant, rejecting one that would allow Eagle Road residents to sell their properties for commercial use.
Residents asked that their properties, 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.”
While 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, owners said they were willing to group the parcels to be sold together.
But Town Meeting members referred the article back to its creator with concerns about possible plans for the properties.
Bill Leuci, who represents Precinct 4, which encompasses Eagle Road, said he was concerned that redevelopment of the property would include more rock blasting.
“If this land is developed — it is all rock — if they were to try to develop this land, there would be an awful lot of blasting and I think our area has been blasted enough,” he said. “With Essex Landing, everyone on my side of Route 1 felt that blasting quite a bit and called the Fire Department quite a few times, and there just wasn’t any relief until it was all done.”
Others said they were concerned the properties would be used to create an access road for a Revere development.
Town Meeting members also voted to allow a development at 2 Winston St. be exempt from a requirement that would force one of the seven units located in three buildings to be affordable.
“This property has been vacant for probably a decade to 12 years,” said Town Manager Scott Crabtree. “One of the things the town is interested in is healthy development that is going to be a benefit to the community with the least impact.”
Crabtree said he would rather allow the developer to be exempt from the requirement than see the property sit vacant for another decade.
Town Meeting authorized the town to borrow $695,000 for the purchase of a fire engine for the Fire Department. The motion also authorizes Crabtree to seek grant funding to reduce the borrowing amount and go toward the principal.
Fire Chief Michael Newbury said when the department receives the truck in about a year, it will replace a 23-year-old engine. The apparatus should only be used on the front line for about 15 years, he said.
The water rate was increased 2.5 percent with all receipts to be held within the Water Enterprise Fund to be used exclusively for water expenses, maintenance, debt and, improvement programs. More than $6.5 million was appropriated into the Water Enterprise Fund and more than $4.7 million was appropriated to operate the Sewer Enterprise Fund.
Bridget Turcotte can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @BridgetTurcotte