As a 35-year resident of Lynnfield, I have witnessed developer and developer come before the town with the same request: changing the zoning laws to allow for more dense development.
I can’t blame them. More often than not, in the world of real estate, the greater the density of the development project, the greater the profit. When was the last time a developer came before the town with a proposal that would create more open green space than zoning required, or that would build lots larger than zoning required? I can’t recall.
At the April 29 Town Meeting, there will be a proposal (Article 16) to radically change building density requirements for the 22.6 acres of land located at 1414 Main St.
This proposal seeks to change the zoning for that large parcel from the existing Residence “D” zoning district to an “EH” district. This change will allow the developer to seek the placement of 66 housing units on the site, rather than the 15 housing units that could be built on the site under current zoning requirements. That difference in housing density (66 dwelling units versus 15) is an extreme departure from the current zoning regulation.
Let’s consider the ramifications of a project of such magnitude. First, at an estimated two cars per dwelling unit, not to mention the autos of condo management and staff, service workers, visitors, delivery vehicles, etc., there will be a very large number of vehicles turning onto Main Street at a point on the road where there are already hills and diminished visibility.
These same vehicles will also add to the already burdened four-corner intersection at Main and Lowell streets. In an attempt to pacify Lynnfield residents concerned with auto congestion.
Developers have historically offered to expand roadways and intersections, add traffic signals, etc., but is that what we really want? Second, at a time when water quality and water bans are huge town issues, do we really want additional large commercial wells drawing more water in an area not far from the town’s well station off Lowell and Main?
Third, the typical developer refrain that over-55 communities will lessen the burden on schools is misleading. Those that would sell their current Lynnfield homes to move into this community would most likely be selling to families with children. It is very probable that home sales related to this project may result in a significant net gain in students attending public schools.
Residents who purchased and built homes in Lynnfield respected and relied upon the town’s zoning requirements. They bought into a special, intimate and desirable bedroom community. Developers will build their projects, make their money, and then move on. It is the Lynnfield community that has to live with the aftermath. The town’s current zoning regulations ensure Lynnfield’s future as an attractive town with a distinctive green canopy. Unfortunately, keeping that future viable requires continued vigilance.
Make your voice heard on April 29. Vote “no” on Article 16.