LYNNFIELD — Opponents of a plan to replace the Bali Hai restaurant with an apartment complex packed Town Hall Monday night.
Nearly three dozen neighbors of the 277-seat Polynesian restaurant made their case to the Planning Board to reject a proposal from twins Matthew and David Palumbo for the 32-unit, three-story, wood frame complex.
The building, which faces Route 128 and a wall to screen Moulton Drive, would include 24 two-bedroom and eight one-bedrooms units priced from $2,200 to $3,300.
While Ted Regnante, attorney for the twins who live in town, argued town zoning allows for the development because it is simply another nonconforming use that will not be detrimental to the neighborhood, abutters disagreed.
Arthur Bourque, town meeting moderator and Locksley Road resident, said an apartment complex is not the same as a restaurant.
“Thirty-two units is detrimental to the neighborhood,” he said. “Most of us in the neighborhood are unhappy with this.”
Andrew Taylor of Oak Street, who has lived in Lynnfield for 50 years, said Moulton Drive is not the place for apartments. He said neighbors prefer the underused restaurant.
Matthew Palumbo, 29, a Wakefield attorney who, along with his brother, manage more than 100 units in Greater Boston, said the restaurant is an eyesore. In its place, he said, would be a handsome, three-story luxury apartment building with a mansard roof.
Under the proposal, much of the vast parking lot and its 130 spaces would be replaced with landscaping. The number of parking spaces would be reduced to 68 for apartment dwellers, 16 would be reserved for Little League fans.
Palumbo said they have an agreement to purchase the 48-year-old Polynesian-style pub, a 1¼-acre parcel assessed at $1.5 million, for an undisclosed amount.
Following a three-hour hearing, the Planning Board voted, 3-2, to recommend to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) that they not grant the project a special permit.
The ZBA plans to vote on the plan Tuesday night.