Bali Hai proposal again berated by residents
By Christopher Roberson
It was another long night for developers Matthew and David Palumbo, as the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) voted against the proposal for a 24-unit apartment building at the site of the Bali Hai restaurant on Moulton Drive.
During the Nov. 20 meeting of the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), resident Heather Doyle said that contrary to recent statements, there has been no outside drinking or unruly behavior from Bali Hai patrons. “We need neighbors, not noise,” she said. “Bali Hai is a very quiet neighbor.”
Doyle said an apartment building will only encourage the use of drugs and alcohol among other things. “Human traffickers are very prominent on Route 1,” she said. “I have low confidence in the developers.”
Resident Cynthia Trefry said that in the long-term, the development’s rental prices will drop and the property tax revenue will follow. “These are not luxury apartments being proposed here,” she said. “Lynnfield isn’t even the place for this project.”
Resident Patrick Curley urged the ZBA to focus on the current use of the Bali Hai property. “The Bali Hai use is extraordinarily modest,” he said. “There’s a handful of cars in the parking lot.”
He said that in contrast, the apartment building would generate 60 cars just from residents alone. Curley said the development would also be a “significant attraction” to families with young children. “This is a wholesale change of use,” he said.
Resident Bradford Keene said Bali Hai used to be of the same caliber as Kowloon in Saugus; however, that was 43 years ago. “Now it’s a bar with the convenience of food,” he said, adding that Bali Hai is now a “dying restaurant.”
In addition, Keene said the site is located next to Peabody’s water supply at Suntaug Lake; however, he said, Peabody officials have yet to weigh in on any of the development’s potential impacts.
Resident Pamela Watkins said she moved to Lynnfield in February after living in South Boston for 10 years. She said the rental prices proposed by the Palumbo brothers are far too high and do not include access to public transportation. Therefore, Watkins said, the development would only be attractive to transient residents.
Having lived on Oak Street since 1993, resident Andrew Taylor called Bali Hai a “pretty sleepy restaurant.” He said he likes it that way, adding that he never would have purchased his home if there was an apartment building next door.
Resident William Baron said the last thing Lynnfield needs is more residents. “This town is overpopulated as it is,” he said. “This is going to cause more of a disaster.”
Carl Lagreca was the only resident to speak in favor of the proposal. “The devil you know is better than the devil you don’t know, 24 apartments is nothing,” he said.
ZBA Member Anthony Moccia raised concerns about measuring the property’s level of use. “I think the law is silent on this,” he said.
ZBA Chairman Brian Shaffer said Lynnfield is not meant to have apartments. “The intent of our bylaw has never been to have apartment buildings,” he said. “We’ve always been a bedroom community.”