Development Projects Show No COVID Slow-Down for the Planning Board

One place that has shown no signs of slowing down due to COVID-19 is the development community in Everett and its ongoing submissions to the Planning Board.

On Monday night, the Planning Board took action on three items – just one week after having a marathon meeting that saw the presentation of a handful of major and meaningful development projects around the city.

Monday’s meeting was highlighted by the revised development plan of the historic home at 43 Corey St. behind the Sacro Plaza – one of the oldest and most historic homes in Everett.

Sergio Cornelio, who is also the City Clerk, bought the historic two-family property that sits on a huge lot that includes a Carriage House barn and intended to demolish it and build new construction. That wasn’t received well at a previous Planning Board meeting, particularly by Chair Fred Cafasso and Member Leo Pizzano. So, on Monday, Cornelio came back with a revised plan that focused heavily on preservation and keeping green spaces intact.

It was a dramatic departure from the previous plan, and a change that was noted.

“I like the plan and I’m sure this Board likes the plan much better than the one you had with multiple units and where you wanted to take down the building,” said Cafasso. “This keeps the integrity of that property and of the neighborhood.”

Said Pizzano, “I’m an advocate of no tear-downs in the City of any historic buildings. I wish a few councilors would be more proactive in coming up with a plan to prevent the tear-down of these historic homes that are so much a part of Everett’s history for hundreds of years. If we had an ordinance in place, we wouldn’t have to worry about that.”

Cornelio and Attorney David O’Neil explained the new proposal will feature six apartment units within the existing home, with three studio apartments and two, two-bedroom apartments along with eight parking spots.

“The hope of the petitioner is to take this historic property and maintain 100 percent of the exterior appearance of the property, maintain the grounds and keep it as much as much as it is now, but taking what has historically been a two-family residence and converting it to a six units of state of the art residences.”

The plan would keep the barn and much of the trees and green space, Cornelio said. He said they could have put the full 12 parking spots on the large property, but felt it would take away from the nature of the history there.

“I didn’t want to take down a bunch of the trees and pave over a lot of the green space,” he said, noting the decision will require them to go to the Zoning Board for a parking variance. “I want to preserve some of the green space. That’s why we did what we did with the parking.

“I bought this from a friend and promised to keep it intact as best as possible,” he continued. “That’s what I intend to do.”

The Planning Board voted 5-0 to waive the Site Plan Review process, and allow the project to move to the ZBA for variances.

•6 NORMAN STREET GETS SITE PLAN, ADDS AFFORDABLE UNIT

The developers of a 66-unit, new apartment building on 6 Norman St. – across from the City Yard – got kudos Monday night for adding one additional affordable unit to the project – resulting in approvals for their Site Plan Review and a special permit for Inclusionary Zoning on the project.

Attorney Anthony Rossi represented the developer on the matter last week at the meeting, and came back with some revisions to the project as discussed then. Chief among them was adding a fourth affordable housing unit to the required three units under the City’s ordinance.

The project will be built on an industrial, blighted lot just down from the Bone Up Brewery and across the street from the City Yard – abutting the Northern Strand Bike Path. The project will be five stories tall and will include parking on the site as well.

A traffic study submitted to the Board indicated that there would be no great impact on traffic due to the development, particularly on the Tileston Street/Main Street intersection. The property has parking egresses on Williams and Tileston Streets.

“For the record, as a result of this development you are saying you will not add any traffic to the intersection of Tileston and Main,” said Member Leo Pizzano. “That’s a brutal intersection and you feel this property won’t add to the deteriorating conditions of that intersection. That correct?”

“Yes, that is correct,” said Traffic Engineer Steve Sawyer.

Chair Fred Cafasso said he appreciated the addition of a new affordable unit to the project – something that wasn’t required. The affordable units include three, one-bedroom units and one, two-bedroom unit.

Councilor Michael McLaughlin – who represents the area – said he agrees with the changes and the development.

“I am excited about the addition of the fourth unit and that’s a property that for a long time hasn’t been used in a meaningful way,” he said. “It’s going to clean up that lot which has been a blighted spot for a long time…I do agree that the traffic impact from this will not be noticeable because Tileston and Main Streets are only busy two ties a day. I don’t think this will be a major impact on that intersection.”

Both votes passed the Board 5-0.

•110 TREMONT GETS SITE PLAN

Developer Greg Antonelli has kept the momentum rolling on his projects throughout the city, getting a Site Plan Review stamp of approval on a proposed project at 110 Tremont St. – which is next door to the units he has just completed on Tremont Street.

Both properties at the back face the Northern Strand Bike Path and the newly-built RiverGreen park and sports fields.

Antonelli – of GTA Inc. – said they plan to put a 48-unit residential building on the property that will be two-stories tall and have ample parking in a front parking lot that will be hemmed in by a stone wall.

The project would take the place of an industrial building that is now vacant of tenants, and would be a compliment to the development now being finished next door by Antonelli.

The project is by-right, so it needs no further approvals from the Zoning Board. The project is not subject to affordable housing requirements as it was first filed with the City before those requirements were ordained by the Council.

The Planning Board voted 5-0 to approve the matter, with some conditions.

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