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New Housing Complex For Lake Street in Waltham?

Residents are at odds over whether a new housing complex should be built on Lake Street.

Abutters to a proposed apartment complex on Lake Street in Waltham are decrying the plans saying it would exacerabte traffic problems and alter the character of the residential neighborhood.

The project plans call for a 23-unit complex on a 33,000 square foot site between 48-54 Lake St., according to developer documents. The building would stand four stories high. Despite the plans stating 23 units would be built, Attorney Philip McCourt, who represents the developer, said that would be the maximum number of units, not necessairily the amount that would be constructed.

Del Mar Realty Trust, of Waltham, owns the site and is proposing the complex. Walter E. Ohnemus and Rick Pizzi are the trustees of Del Mar Realty Trust. 

First, however, developers must clear some city hurdles. At a Monday, Sept. 10 City Council meeting, the developers officially requested the Council rezone the area from Residential A-3 to Business B, which would allow the apartment complex, but also other business-related uses. If rezoned, developers would still have to seek a special permit to construct the complex at the site. 

The proposal drew more than 100 residents, supporters and opponents to the Monday hearing. Project abutters strongly objected during the hearing, saying it would increase traffic in an already busy area. Many also said they would rather see residential homes on the property than an apartment complex. Supporters of the project, however, said they would prefer that complex and that the traffic impact would be minimal. 

PROPOSAL FOR ZONING CHANGE

  • McCourt, who represents Del Mar Relaty Trust, said the site is more suitable for an apartment complex than residential homes. 
  • The complex would also provide a buffer between between single-family homes in the area and "undesireable uses," according to McCourt. “No one wants business,” McCourt said. The complex, he argued, would not depress the values of nearby homes.
  • McCourt said the developers have no intention of developing a business complex at the site.  

PROPONENTS

  • Melissa Rossi, who lives nearby on Bowdoin Avenue, said she would rather see an apartment complex than another use, including a funeral parlor or dry cleaner.
  • Carl Zinnell, of Silver Hill Lane, said he supported the zone change because it “will serve to improve the area. I believe development at this particular location ... would clean up what appears to be more of a commericlal-looking use."

OPPONENTS

  • Annette Reynolds, a realtor who lives near the Lake Street site, said she didn't support the project because it would worsen traffic issues for the road that she said is already dangerous because of speeding motorists. Also, Reynolds said nearby residents bought their homes expeting to live in a residential area and not a business zone. 
  • Joseph Kelly, a resident of nearby Nutting Road, said he bought his home three years ago expecting to live in a residential neighborhood, and did not want to see that change. He also objected to any light from the complex spilling into his house.
  • Dean MacLaughlin, of Indian Road, criticized the project saying the parking for it would spill onto his street. 

COUNCILORS' CONCERNS

  • City Councilor Gary Marchese criticized the developers, saying they had not done much outreach to nearby residents, which he said reflected in the number of opponents to the project. "I don’t know why you haven’t been able to reach out to the neighbors and get some support,” Marchese said.
  • McCourt retorted by saying they had not been invited to a recent meeting of residents to discuss the project and have not had a chance to speak with them. Despite saying they had not had a chance to speak to residents, McCourt said developers had spoke to some residents who McCourt said supported the project. 

The matter was sent to the Ordinance and Rules Committee for a Oct. 15 meeting. The Board of Survey and planning will discuss the project during an Oct. 3 meeting. 

SM Humphreys September 11, 2012 at 10:39 AM
If you don't own property in Lakeview, should you really have a say?
Don Cook September 11, 2012 at 11:50 AM
You know it's bad when developers say the didn't talk to the neighbors because they didn't get invited to the meeting and after a year or more of planning haven't had a chance to talk to them. These connected good-old-boys have friends in high places and don't need to talk to neighbors.
Ryan Grannan-Doll (Editor) September 11, 2012 at 11:52 AM
Yes, you should. More housing could mean more students in the schools, which means schools need more money and space for them.
Robert G. Logan September 11, 2012 at 12:55 PM
Don, I think Councillor Marchese's comments in the story above clearly indicate otherwise. If you were at the meeting last night you would have a different impression of this matters prospects for success. Robert G. Logan Councillor Ward 9
Alice H September 11, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Mr. Logan - Why are they seeing Business B? Couldn't they see a residential zoning that would allow multi-family housing? Would R-C or R-D allow them to build apartments?
Sue H. September 11, 2012 at 03:34 PM
I didn't get to the meeting, and I don't live next door, but have you SEEN Lexington at any AM or PM hour of the day -- it is an angry parking lot. How can anyone think of adding yet MORE cars to this mess? Nor do our schools need more kids crammed into the few rooms left for them. Most of the schools are having crowding issues of some sort, including Kennedy so far as I can tell from what my daughter relates. Long lunch lines, impassably crowded hallways. NO MORE development in this area PLEASE.
Sue H. September 11, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Anyone who has to use Lexington should have a say. Waltham will have to build a four lane highway pretty soon to replace Lexington or the city will grind to a standstill. I don't schedule any appointments downtown during morning or 5 pm rush hours because it is totally impassable. Can we ever learn to just say NO to more housing developments -- we've got four huge ones right nearby already, plus public housing. No lack of condos and apartments in this area.
Sue H. September 11, 2012 at 03:38 PM
One last thing -- how about a PARK?? Does it have to be either a gas station, dry clearners or another housing complex? Can we carve out another tiny bit of green for kids to hang out in, instead of the CVS parking lot?
rebe September 11, 2012 at 08:34 PM
we don't need anymore condos or apartment buildings, everytime i drive by there i always wish they could put in a dog park or even a skate park for the kids, please no more buildings.
Donna Hughes September 11, 2012 at 09:41 PM
how about a Chinese Restaurant......
Robert Wagner September 11, 2012 at 11:18 PM
We need another apartment complex like Custer needed more Indians. Give it up and why were at it why don't we up the square footage to build a single family home. They can build a 4 bedroom colonial on a postage stamp. Wake up overcrowding is upon us!
Walthamguy September 15, 2012 at 06:48 AM
Alice H is right on! Forget Business B zoning - I smell a rotten fish. Meanwhile our illustrious Waltham City Councilors Gary Marchese (W5) and Bob Logan (W9) simply sidestep the issue by joining efforts in criticizing the developers, "saying they had not done much outreach to nearby residents, which he said reflected in the number of opponents to the project." Duh!!! Give me a break, perhaps the councilors would do best by instead tuning to the views of of the "opponents" - what a novel idea!
jmf September 17, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Rober Logan and Gary Marchese asked the RIGT questions. There was NO outreach to neighbors at all. Ever. Just ask the other residents of Waltham what and how Ted O treated them. I think 101-19 say's it all. There should be NO special anything for these developers. Waltham has had enough, and most certainly Lakeview has too!!!

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