TOWN OF WINTHROP
Harvey Hearing Room
The Planning Board opened the meeting at approximately 7:30pm. The following members were in attendance: Chairman Dimes, John Crosby, Dave Proctor and Peter Roche. Member Peter Boyle was not in attendance.
Chairman Dimes opened the hearing stating that per Chapter 40A Section 5 the public hearing was being held to provide an opportunity for the community input regarding the proposed waterfront zoning amendment brought forth by Robert Massa.
Chairman Dimes then read the legal notice that was published for two weeks in the Winthrop Transcript Newspaper according to state statute. That notice is attached to these minutes.
Chairman Dimes ran through the events that brought us to this hearing. Mr. Massa got the required number of signatures and brought the proposed Amendment to the Town Council. The Town Council referred the proposed Amendment on to the Planning Board for deliberation. After the Planning Board holds the Public Hearing they will compose a report and present the report to the Town Council. The Council will then have a public hearing of their own and then take a vote on the proposed amendment.
Mr. Massa was invited to speak and explain his amendment and reasons for bringing it forth. Mr. Massa explained that his main reason for bringing the petition forward was the height and presence of the Atlantis Marina Development. Mr. Massa feels any development on Shirley Street should fit in the neighborhood and felt the amendments may guide further development in the right direction. He said he was concerned that the Shirley Street area would be even more negatively impacted than the Atlantis neighborhood given the already congested streets and limited access. In closing Mr. Massa said that other communities like South Boston, Medford and Melrose are all pulling back their development plans and maybe Winthrop should do the same.
Chairman Dimes then opened public comment up to any person wanting to speak in favor of the article.
Atlantis abutter Paul Turner felt the neighbors of Atlantis were not handled properly during the permit process.
Point Shirley resident Gina Cerulli stated she was for sensible development that would not burden the neighborhood. She had some concerns relative to current traffic and parking issues and how those issues would be affected by waterfront development.
Tewksbury Street resident Joan Baily feels the Atlantis setbacks are totally out of place in that neighborhood. She has concerns for depreciating property values, traffic safety and parking if the Waterfront Zoning is not amended.
Beacon Street resident Ann Carver stated she has concerns for the Shirley Street neighborhood. She noted drug and alcohol issues along with problems at Massa Playground.
Atlantis Marina direct abutter Helena Mullins says the Atlantis building is much higher than originally planned. She believes that the Chamber of Commerce is the driving force behind all the development in Town and feels their agenda is purely financial. She said she does not want to see the Shirley Street neighborhood go through what she has endured.
Lee Dzedulonis stated she feels Atlantis is too high and urged the Planning Board to reconsider and recommend this motion to keep the height at 45 feet.
Chairman Dimes then opened discussion for those people against the amended article, those who feel the waterfront zoning should remain as it currently written.
Mark Shannon of 12 Beacon Street said he hopes the new development will provide parking for its residents.
Attorney for the Crystal Cove Project, Jim Cipoletta came to front of the room to deliver his statement on the proposed amendment and the history of Atlantis Marina and our current waterfront zoning. Mr. Cipoletta stated that during the years of 2002 through June of 2004 when the Waterfront Zoning was voted by Town Meeting there were many opportunities for the public to provide input and that the motion that was passed was supported by the current Planning Board as well as Town Meeting. He submitted copies of Article 22 for the record.
Mr. Cipoletta went on to say that the Red Book for Town Meeting of 2004 included a draft of the motion and that on the Town Meeting floor the motion was amended. At that time it was voted to continue Town Meeting until June 3, 2004 and at that time the Article passed 147 to 61 by a standing vote. He said before the vote was taken the Town Meeting members had an opportunity to learn about the changes and amendments to the Article and that the members proceeded with care and deliberation.
The Atlantis developer, RCG then went before the Planning Board for a special permit which they were granted by Chairman Dimes.
Mr. Cipoletta said the concept of the Shirley Street development may be corridors between buildings so as not to be so massive as Atlantis. Regardless of the proposal for that area, nothing can be done with out a Permit from the Planning Board along with what the Town has recently created a Site Plan Review Process so that there are a number of safety mechanisms in place to make sure what is built is within the parameters of what the town wants. In closing, he stated his clients want to fully comply with all rules and regulations set out before them by state and local governments.
Board Member Peter Roche thanked Mr. Massa for his diligence in bringing this amendment forward. Mr. Roche commented that he thought the Article needs to be carefully thought out and that he was concerned that the Article as written may need more careful and appropriate language as the current language may not reflect a solution to the concerns Mr. Massa is trying to address.
Paul Turner said that he knows Chapter 91 protects the water but questions who protects the residents?
Mike Carney of Faun Bar Avenue feels there is a problem on Shirley Street and it goes beyond development. He feels our waterfront is underutilized and if a developer wants to clean up Shirley Street then that change should be managed carefully.
Helena Mullins said she was not opposed to development but opposed to density.
Joan Riley would like to see the area become similar to Salem’s Pickering Wharf.
Member Dave Proctor asked of Attorney Cipoletta – Are abutter’s of Atlantis impacted by the project and if so what comments have come forward?
Attorney Cipoletta said he didn’t recall anyone but Ms. Mullins with comments. He did state that there had been some parking issues with the work crews but that the problem had been rectified.
Member Peter Roche said that he feels the Board should gain a better understanding of Chapter 91 before they move forward. He added that the Amendment as proposed could have unintended consequences, including, potentially, rendering a development infeasible or encouraging a design/massing strategy that would be even more inappropriate that the height to which some neighbors are expressing concern. Mr. Roche suggested that the Shirley Street waterfront area had great value for the entire community and any development needs to be well thought out. He encouraged the use of Winthrop’s recently announced Smart Growth Technical Assistance Grant to further investigate the design issues associated with the redevelopment of Crystal Cove.
Ann Baldwin suggested that a physical model be available for public viewing with any other development projects going forward so residents can see the scale and materials proposed for a building.
After all present had an opportunity to offer testimony, Chairman Dimes closed the public portion of the Planning Board’s hearing and took the matter under advisement.
Motion to adjourn was unanimous at 9:30pm.