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ABOUT TOWN: Neighbors Balk at Plans for Lambert Ave. Eyesore in Stoughton

Welcome to "About Town with Mark Snyder," a column that will keep you up to the minute with what's what, who's who and what's going on around town. If you see or hear something we could use here, let us know by sending an e

NEIGHBORS: NO GARAGE FOR YOU! - David Krivelow, a 12-year Stoughton resident, and his business partner, Scott Rawl of Resource Project Group, a wrecking and demolition company, were looking for a location for their 20-foot dump truck and their demolition tools, and saw the vacant eyesore at 75 Lambert Ave in Stoughton.

He tells About Town, "When we saw it, we thought we'd be doing the neighbors a favor. Our intentions were all good. We figured we'd take a condemned eyesore and make it something that looked good."

But, Krivelow got a taste of what the neighbors along Lambert Ave., Rockland St. and McGarvey Rd had to say on Thursday night at a Stoughton Zoning Board of Appeals meeting. Close to 100 people were inside the Yaitanes Room and outside in the Great Hall to universally express their disdain for the proposal to build a garage to house the dump truck and demolition tools.  

Krivelow and Rawl, seated next to their Attorney Steve Delamare, heard an endless parade of, "No Thanks." In fact, the only speaker in favor of the proposal was Attorney John Gianino, who represents the condemned building's owner, Mrs. Donahue.

He said, "Mrs. Donahue doesn't like the vacant building, either. She has tried for years to sell the property. There's a garage there, and the proposed owners are willing to clean it up. It seems like a logical use. We've had offers from an ambulance business, and for senior homes. They were rejected. The owner is wondering just what this property can be used for."  

Abutter Jarod Henderson had an idea. "It's a family neighborhood. The building should be knocked down and they should build a playground there." That got massive applause from the crowd.

Of course, the town was planning to buy the property in 2011, with the possibility of expanding the senior center/youth commission building and its parking lot next door. But, the proposal was withdrawn at Town Meeting. The Town of Stoughton doesn't seem too keen on the idea of Resource Project Group's proposal.

Selectman John Stagnone (writing for himself), Town Building Commissioner Tom McGrath, and The Planning Board all wrote letters against the project. Planning Board Chairman Joseph Scardino read from the letter Thursday night. It concluded, "The property is located partially in a General Business Zone and in a Residential Zone which changes the character of this largely residential neighborhood. The existing General Business zone parcel stands alone within an almost wholly Residential zone, which is incompatible with the existing land uses. A General Business zone use surrounded by residential uses creates negative encroachments and adversely impacts the neighborhood."

In addition, a number of neighbors wrote letters to the ZBA requesting denial of Case #4070 for the request for a Special Permit for the 75 Lambert Ave. property.  

Over a dozen residents took the microphone and spoke out against the proposal. Martin Franklin said he moved into his neighboring property in 1962. "Fifty years later, that monstrosity is still there. Come down and look at it. It's not place for a business," Franklin said.

Peter Irons said it was "a safety issue. There are a lot of kids living there. Dump trucks at any time of day are a safety issue."

Frank Lyons told the ZBA, "Little kids are all over this neighborhood. I have a four year old. People walk their dogs and jog down the street. We need to put sidewalks in. With them, it's a whole different ballgame."

Selectwoman Cynthia Walsh picked up on that theme, adding, "I go to the Senior Center. These folks live in a real neighborhood. There are no sidewalks and the road is extremely narrow. Dump trucks make a lot of noise. Everyone sitting here has good intentions. But, they get the same results from Town Hall. Someone puts the complaints in a file. This is not a good place for this business. It's simply not compatible with the neighborhood. Read all the letters and listen to all the people. The continuance should be scheduled in a bigger room."  

Alison Abrams had a petition to knock the building down. She said she wouldn't mind a house or duplex there.

Virginia and Brian Cuddy spoke out against the proposal due to the zoning issues. They questioned whether the zoning from 50 years ago was even in effect since the building hasn't been used for nearly a decade.

Marguerite Mitchell of the Zoning Board, and an attorney in her profession, wanted the town's legal counsel to review the situation, adding, "I'm not sure how we can consider this if it doesn't meet the requirements of our zoning law."

Abutter James Lindy also said it didn't meet the requirements for a Special Permit: "There is no evidence this is an essential or desirable use. Any additional traffic, especially heavy equipment, is detrimental. The zoning was set up 50 years ago."

And, in the same vein, ZBA member Dan Pessia said that the Board shouldn't even be hearing the request. He told the crowd, "There's no measurements of the proposed building. There's no information on how close this is to the nearest resident. We're wasting our time continuing it now."  

Ines Allen was worried about resale value of the neighborhood's homes. "If we decide to sell, who's going to buy? We have a Judge Rotenberg Center home, the Senior Center, and now this."

Deborah Howard had similar concerns, adding, "I have two small children. I bought our house two years ago. I never would have bought there if I knew about this."  

Meanwhile, Delamere did clarify a few fears of the neighbors. He said there would be no waste in the building, or even in the dump truck coming in or out of the building. He said the only truck coming in or out would be the company's dump truck. He added, "Despite the wording of the request, there are no raw materials being stored there."  

The Zoning Board of Appeals will continue the hearing of Case 4070 to November 1st at 7:30 p.m.

Let's hope that it is scheduled in the Great Hall. The Yaitanes Room is like a sauna, and it wasn't fair to the 60 or so people who had to wait outside and listen on speakers.  

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MAKING MONEY FROM LEMONS FOR THE KIDS: The third annual Tiso Family lemonade stand is coming to Bob’s Famous Foodmart parking lot on Sunday, September 23, as part of their Kid’s Day.

From 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. come get a lemonade and contribute to Children’s Hospital! The first year, Holly Tiso’s children: Grace, Gregory, Tyler and Sean raised over $100.  Last year, they raised over $300.  This year, they want to top that! Help them out.  Stop by and have a glass of lemonade - for the children!

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The free one-mile fun run takes place at 9 a.m. and the 5K run/walk takes place at 10 a.m. The Prone Family Foundation will be matching the funds raised during the 5K race which will go towards helping a local family affected by cancer. The Kid's Day goes until 2 p.m.

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HAPPY BIRTHDAY to: Joey Renzi, who helps his wife Randi at her fitness facility, Why Weight Fitness, as well as work his full time job. And, to Diane Sousa, office manager of AMS Grinding, community volunteer, and wife of former selectman Tony Sousa.

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DJ September 21, 2012 at 11:51 PM
Mrs Donahue has tried for years to sell the property to the town for an overvalued price and because the town showed interest, the property was rarely properly marketed. Interested parties were ignored and it only got listed in MLS when it was being considered for or in a warrant article. This is probably another ploy to get the town to step in at a ballooned rate.

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