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Swampscott neighbors still share concern over housing proposal

Developers want to put a 55-and-up independent living facility adjacent to Archer Street in Swampscott. (Olivia Falcigno)

SWAMPSCOTT — Residents of the neighborhood of Archer Street, Eureka Avenue, and Foster Street have their eyes on future meetings regarding the building of a 55-and-up “independent living” facility they say would disrupt the area’s quiet atmosphere. 

The project, led by DiGiorgio and Messina Construction and P & K Funding Trust, the legal title holder, must have its site plan approved by the Zoning Board of Appeals, which has continued the matter to its virtual meeting on Wednesday, June 24. 

However, according to the town’s senior planner, Molly O’Connell, the item will likely be continued further, partly because such a “robust” subject should be brought up at an in-person meeting, rather than in virtual meetings. 

That hasn’t stopped residents from worrying about the project, which has been in the works since 2012. Certain aspects of the yet-approved site plan, including increasing the number of condominiums to be built from 15 to 22, have drawn particular attention. 

“You know there’s going to be two cars for every unit,” said resident Laurie Pape, whose 31 Eureka Ave. property is just two houses from the wooded area proposed for development. 

“It just doesn’t work here,” she said. 

Pape said she and other residents, including neighbor Scott Grieves, a carpenter and firefighter, have concerns about safety in the area if a large living facility is built, with narrow streets and poor access for fire trucks in the case of an emergency. 

Also, increased traffic would just make the neighborhood busier and louder, she said. 

“Just look, you see the kids riding their bikes,” Pape said. 

Another neighbor, who did not wish to identify himself, said he and his wife would sue the town if the project were built. He said they purchased their property because of the neighborhood’s “sleepiness,” and he’s also concerned about drainage problems, with the proposed site slightly elevated, compared to surrounding property.

Indeed, one of the reasons the project has been delayed before is because of neighbors bringing lawsuits. In 2013, Robert Dandreo of Vaughan Place, a small road next to Foster Road, filed a lawsuit claiming the facility, as originally proposed, would negatively affect water and sewer pipes connected to his home, as well as congest traffic. 

As a result of the lawsuit, the Zoning Board of Appeals gave developers a year-long extension to come up with a different entrance to the site. Currently, developers intend to create a new road, called Cushing Avenue, by Archer Street to become the main entrance to the facility.   

For information on accessing the Zoning Board of Appeals’ virtual meetings, visit www.swampscottma.gov/zoning-board-appeals

 

 

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