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What's The Status Of The Ginsburg/Martel East Street Development?

Readers are looking to find out what has happened since Town Meeting rezoned a parcel adjacent to Industrial Avenue.

Question: What's going on with the piece of land we rezoned at Town Meeting a while back? It doesn't seem like anything is being built there. Is the project dead?

Answer: The project is very much alive.

We actually got two questions relating to this project. The other wondered why there was a big pile of rocks sort of across from the headquarters.

The land in question is 25 acres at 842 East St. It's being developed by and According to an article published recently in the Boston Globe, the Planning Board opened a public hearing on June 18 regarding Ginsburg and Martel's plan for 117 condominium units, blending single unit townhouses with duplexes.

The hearing was continued to July 16 and was continued a second time. It will pick up again when the board meets on Aug. 13, according to

The land in question was once owned by developer John Sullivan, who had proposed a 280-unit 40B project. After that plan fizzled, he sold the property to Ginsburg and Martel.

At the May, 2011 Annual Town Meeting, , paving the way for the new project.

Primary concerns raised by neighbors and the board, thus far, have had to deal with potential flooding/drainage issues. Ginsburg has said he doesn't foresee a problem in that area, according to the Globe article.

beatrice July 24, 2012 at 01:04 PM
I haven't been paying attention to this development, but with 117 condo units, how will that affect school system? Just figuring one child per unit, we would need an extra 4-5 classrooms for this growth.
Ray July 24, 2012 at 02:27 PM
More taxes means more income to the town. who knows, maybe the town can help cut our high taxes or am I dreaming? The selectmen need to get control of the spending
Rick M July 24, 2012 at 04:18 PM
In my old city there was a similar project that turned to apartments (section 8 housing) after the condos didnt sell. I missed the change in zoning, does anybody know what the condos will be listing for? Are we just approving what Sullivan tried to do but on a smaller scale? I understand we have a need for low income housing and that we are still a little behind the State mandate but sociology has proven that the best way to create a safe balance is by integrating into establish neighborhoods rather than isolated communities. bunching 117 units right off the highway maybe creating some of the problems with drug traffic that has plagued other parts of tewksbury already. I'm all for building the tax base but isn't the housing market still pretty soft? is there a demand for this housing right now?
Susan July 24, 2012 at 05:48 PM
This town is getting out of control and our schools are over crowded already not to mention the traffic now! When will this stop and do these builders take this into consideration?
Ronald July 24, 2012 at 07:09 PM
We need more businesses for tax money!
jj July 24, 2012 at 08:11 PM
Ron, We need to STOP the out of control SPENDING in this town and give the TAX PAYERS a break...
Rick M July 24, 2012 at 08:13 PM
I wish they would also mandate that if you tear down, the new building must be on the same footprint as the old. there are several "monsters" being built in southie where cottages once stood.
Michael Adams July 25, 2012 at 02:56 AM
NO MORE MFD'S!, How do MFD's benifit the Town? Fill up our vacant commercial property and stop the condo/apt build up. This Town will look like some of the City's to the south and North if we dont control our zoning. Low-density development can keep Tewksbury an attractive, livable, (financially secure, maybe someday) small town, you know....the kind of small town with a Town meeting form of Government.
malcolm nichols July 25, 2012 at 10:33 AM
As discussed at Town meeting there may be some substantial Impacts to discuss. We will need to review the Development Impact Report. The impacts will clearly increase the burden on Fire, Police, Water, Sewer, School and Traffic.
Dave July 25, 2012 at 11:22 AM
I agree with Mr. Adams. Keep the town a small town. Why can't they put singe family homes on that site. We don't want to look like a city. Also is that the same Ginsburg that is in trouble in Billerica for the sprinklers in those condos??
Karyn July 25, 2012 at 06:58 PM
It is D. GERMANO not Ginsburg who is connected to that fiasco in Billerica.
Marc July 25, 2012 at 07:19 PM
its called you have more money you make more money..They dont give a crap about what anyone pays in this town..as long as they keep making the money theyll have the town right where they want them.
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:25 PM
I agree, Michael, and your admonition comes 20+ years too late, unfortunately. The town already does resemble those which you refer to, with totally haphazard development everywhere. "Hey, there's a space! Let's fill it! Let's build another building that won't get rented!" But, there's no sense in trying to reason with people about a "attractive, livable . . . small town" when it's those cities from which they migrated! The haphazard mess is "normal" to them. Move from the city to the suburbs and then tear down the trees and replicate the city they came from, with all its ugliness, redundancy, and crime, among other things. Pitiful. . . . and, avoidable.
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:29 PM
Ronald and Ray: I started hearing this 25 years ago, so we built and built, and added one business after another: Home Depot, Wal-Mart, and so many, many others. Crime went up, traffic increased, more and more difficult to drive down Main Street USA, and taxes NEVER went down! Insanity. There was once an opportunity to do some real sensible planning . . . .
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:33 PM
Rick, oh, there IS that mandate on the books . . . lol.
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:36 PM
Susan, "these builders" will make money anyplace and anyway they can. They're builders; that's what they do. Make money, so they can live in much nicer towns, after they've overbuilt ours.
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:43 PM
Rick M: The operative term being "city" . . . When I first moved to town there was constant protest against new condo developments because we didn't have enough water supply for the residents we already had to serve. What happened? Built a new water treatment plant so we could drink the Merimac River. Now, we have condo complexes everywhere and I have to buy spring water because I can smell and taste the chlorine from my faucets 10 feet away. Guarantee: New units in the space we're talking about today means widening East Street and redoing the Rt. 93 Interchange tomorrow. (It's already happened once.)
Janellen27 July 25, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Now, there's a dose of "Reality" for ya!
Karyn July 25, 2012 at 10:29 PM
It's a shame "more" people weren't paying attention back in early 2001 when the TCPG (Tewksbury Citizens For Planned Growth) was first formed. The concerned and involved citizens back then recognizing the need to control rampant building tried to get a Growth Management Bylaw passed at Town Mtg. which failed by a mere 25 votes despite being thwarted at every turn by builders, bogus propaganda and not supported by ANY of the boards/PTB in charge at that time. From that effort however, sprang our first Town Master Plan, many goals of which have since been accomplished. Though it may not help with this particular project which is considerably "better" than the former proposal designated for that site, it is never too late to become more involved. The Town will soon be undertaking the update of its Master Plan and visioning sessions for the residents are open to the public and will resume I believe sometime in the Fall.
Janellen27 July 26, 2012 at 12:07 AM
Karyn: Thanks for sharing all that. I have some questions and thoughts: I shared my input back then, 2001, just for the record. But, I can tell you honestly, as far as my entire neighborhood goes, noone will probably ever engage in another self-defeating, head-banging, totally useless go-around on another issue which actually effects them! My neighbors have gone to the moon and back many times over the years on several issues that directly affect them and their properties and way of life without winning one result. All goes to The Other Guy--builders, businesses, etc.. "bogus proaganda"? Say more, please? Which goals have been accomplished, please? (I honestly don't know.) This project "considerably better"? With all due respect to you, Karyn, and I mean that the way it is intended . . . in my view no multi-unit development is a "good" plan. How many condo developments or other multi-unit developments does one suburban town (not city) need, anyway? Do you happen to know how many we have now? I really am seeking info here; I honestly stopped counting long ago, and get a headache just trying. [It's like how many Duncan Donuts does one little suburban town need? We have eight(8)! Not one Starbucks, not one Peet's. . . . And, I counted 14 pizza/sub places and nine Asian food places, eight liquor stores--all probably all an underestimate. I don't even know if Somerville has that much of those venues!] Lookin forward to your answers.
Michael Adams July 26, 2012 at 12:20 AM
Karyn, I was just thinking along the same lines...it is never to late! As citizens it is our duty to pay attention to whats going on in our town so we dont come back years later and ask "how did this happen". Showing up at TM is even more important today as there is plenty of open space left that will be filled with apts/condos, (40B) if we dont pay attention. Im a big supporter of one house/one acre, can that be adjusted on a case by case? absolutely, thats why we have a ZBA, although I think most of their power has been taken by the PB, which.....is an elected board. Just one more reason to attend TM, and to watch our finances amongst other items....I left the city to live and raise my family in a community with small town values, open spaces, ect what I stepped into was incredibly high water/sewer bills, property taxes that will soon rival the Readings, and the Andovers. Looking forward to the visioning sessions.
Janellen27 July 26, 2012 at 03:13 AM
Michael, There are those of us who have paid attention all along, done what we were supposed to do, and still ended up saying, "How did this happen?" Believe me, many have been there, done that. You're just the next crop coming up. Reading: I came here from Reading. There's a reason their taxes are sort of high: they like trees! They have no desire to become Salem, NH. There are those who want open space w/green trees & grassand those who have no idea what the value of a tree is to the community. Reading calls itself, "Tree City", I believe; there are signs on poles entering the town that say that. When I moved here, the housing and taxes were low. No big stores, chain restaurants, or all the other stuff you can live without. The reason why the town was so "affordable"--even though it was right off Rts. 495 & 93--was because the schools were so poor they lost their accreditation! I resent the high taxes for a sewer system I can't afford to hook up to and lousy schools I need. You really can't have "small town values" when most of the residents come from cities and have never lived in a small town, and only want more fast-food joints and liquor stores. You'll see. Open spaces? When Bill asked the "Patch" question, regarding the now level acreage across from Mahoney's, "What would you like to see in this space?", my answer was "TREES & GRASS!" And, yes, we have a Zoning Board, and we also have a Board of Appeals . . . and, there you have it.
Karyn July 26, 2012 at 03:30 AM
The TCPG was often maligned as being "anti-growth/development" which it was not and who were proposing a moratorium on all development via their Growth Management Bylaw which was also false. That is where misinformation and propaganda came in to thwart their efforts. The TRUTH was they were about carefully PLANNED, CONTROLLED and RESPONSIBLE MANAGED GROWTH. I understand what you mean about people you know giving up as 10+ years later many of those original group members have moved, passed on, or just dropped out . As for the East Street development, it was initially planned to be I believe 288 units in three story buildings towering over the existing neighborhood which is why the current plan is at least more palatable and considerably downsized. We are still a bit short of our 10% state mandated affordability threshold. To be honest....so much time has gone by it is difficult to remember specifics. That being said I would suggest checking out the following link for info re. our current Master Plan: http://www.tewksbury.info/Pages/TewksburyMA_BComm/Planning/MasterPlan and if you wish to know more about what went down years ago check out this link on TewksburyIssues for a wealth of information and history as well as any other thread under the "TCPG Forum": http://tewksburyissues.org/phpBB3/viewtopic.php?f=54&t=5063 As for "the present"...stay tuned for further info on the upcoming Master Plan Update Visioning sessions! Would be great to see/get more residents involved!
Michael Adams July 26, 2012 at 03:49 AM
Well Janellen, Nothing changes....nothing changes. Here is a thought. The Zoning board, board of appeals, one in the same...has seemed to have lost most of the power, for a lack of better word to the planning board. The zba (all volunteer)seems to be the place to go when you want to put a deck on your house and your to close to your neighbors lot. The planning board, now here is where the power is, an all elected board (politics). You buy a nice big chunk of vacant land once a farm and you want to put in 120 townhomes/condos/apartments, you go before the PB and get your approval along with a sparsely attended TM to get your zoning to your liking and before you know it your living in the City of Tewksbury, (traffic jams(pollution), crowded schools, more DD's, more fast food joints, more gas stations, more bars, more people) I may have the order wrong, but you get the idea.......as for the lot across from Mahoneys, If I remember correctly a senior housing community is looking to purchase or has???
Janellen27 July 26, 2012 at 04:00 AM
Michael, please explain what you mean by "Nothing changes....nothing changes." Zoning/Appeals has lost power? Why is that? I don't really know the answer here. . . just asking. Maybe because they turned their heads the other way one too many times when people wanted to do things that were "illegal", and did them anyway? I wonder, because everytime I drive by a certain piece of property and see that a garage was turned into living quarters, against the rules, so that people could live there, when it was illegal, I just sigh and think to myself: "Yup, if it's illegal, just do it anyway, then they'll say, 'Oh, well, too late now', besides he's a nice guy", or something along those lines. . . or, just lie and tell the Board you misunderstood, or something. . . .tsk, tsk. That's what I heard they did.
Dave July 26, 2012 at 11:47 AM
Thanks Karyn. I wasn't sure who it was.
Joe Bill August 01, 2012 at 08:07 PM
I know Arnie and mark have done a great deal for this town but this development is going to further burden our schools and resources. Look at the units that went in at Ames Pond. People will buy these places and bring in their relatives from surrounding cities so they can attend our schools. The people at the Ames Pond complex are doing this as we speak. I'm sick and tired off paying taxes for welfare recipients and their children so they can exhaust our resources and impact the quality of education the children of tax paying citizens recieve. This land should have been used for Industrial purposes, which would have had a positive impact on our tax base. We don't need more condo's to further burden the town.

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