By Christopher Roberson
There was standing room only at MarketStreet Lynnfield as Ronald Bonvie, a principal of Bonvie Homes, and his team fielded questions about the proposed active-adult community at Sagamore Spring Golf Club. Prior to taking questions at the Feb. 3 meeting, Attorney Theodore Regnante, counsel for Bonvie, said the development would be on the eastern side of the golf course, which is currently a residential zone. Therefore, a two-thirds vote will be needed at Town Meeting to change the zoning to elderly housing.
Regnante also said a variance will be needed for the construction of 154 units. Under the current zoning bylaw, a maximum of 136 units are permitted in an elderly housing zone.
Regnante said none of the site plans would affect the golf course. “A lot of people were concerned that the golf course would go away; the golf course will remain as is,” he said.
At this point, the project has been presented to the Board of Selectmen and the Planning Board. Regnante said meetings with the Fire Department, the Conservation Commission and the Finance Committee are slated for “the weeks ahead.”
“We’re here to listen to your concerns,” he said.
In addition, Regnante said approving the development would be a smart move financially, as it would generate “a little under $1.9 million” in annual tax revenue. Since the development would only house individuals who are 55 and older, Regnante said, there would be no impact on Lynnfield’s student population. He also said the units would range in price from $700,000 to $900,000 and “These will be luxury units.”
During his part of the presentation, Bonvie conveyed his passion for building homes. “I could have retired years ago, but I enjoy what I do,” he said. “This is something that’s dear to my heart.”
For security, Bonvie said the development would be a gated community with a card reader. “Security is very important to this demographic,” he said.
Bonvie also said that no unit would have more than two bedrooms. He said at his Southport development in Mashpee, a resident would face a $10,000 fine for adding a third bedroom. “I’m very, very tough on the bedroom count,” he said.
During the question and answer period, one resident asked how much of the project is dependent on what happens at Town Meeting. Bonvie responded, saying the project is still very much in its infancy and that changes would be made going forward. “This will be amended,” he said.
Provided the zoning article passes at Town Meeting, Regnante said, Bonvie would then begin the yearlong permitting process. “That process will require multiple hearings,” said Regnante.
In addition, Bonvie said there would be a design review process with the Luff Family and the other owners of the property, as they have complete authorization to change the design.
A question was also raised about homeowners association (HOA) fees. Bonvie said HOA fees always need to be handled delicately. “It’s very important to keep HOA fees in a given range, HOA fees are huge,” he said, adding that Southport’s fee is $530.
In response to questions about water pressure problems in the area, Regnante said Peter Ogren, the owner of Hayes Engineering, is working to resolve the issue prior to Town Meeting. In addition, Ogren said the development’s water supply would not come from the Lynnfield Center Water District.
Another resident asked why the development would be in the town’s best interest. Bonvie said that if the project were not approved, 82 single-family homes would be the likely alternative – only he would not be involved. “Somebody’s going to do something,” he said.
The traffic count would also climb by 100 cars per day and 120 students would add to Lynnfield’s already overcrowded school district. “Your tax dollars aren’t going to pick that up,” he said.
Bonvie also said that anyone who moves into his proposed development would do so only because a life event compelled them to leave the place that, for decades, they have called home. “They’ve lived there for 50 years, they’ve raised their kids there and have two dogs buried in the backyard,” he said.