Sidewalk to be Required at Chapter 40B Project


The Manchester-By-The-Sea Zoning Board of Appeals approved two conditions and 12 waivers for the proposed 136-unit apartment complex, known as The Sanctuary at Manchester-By-The-Sea, at Wednesday night’s meeting.

Geoffrey Engler of SLV School St. LLC is seeking a comprehensive permit for the project, which would be located off School Street, opposite the entrance to Atwater Avenue, through the state’s Chapter 40B law. 

A condition is something the ZBA will require the developer to include in building the project, usually something not included in the developer’s plans.  A waiver allows the developer to overlook a section of the town’s bylaws.

An ADA compliant sidewalk from the building down to School Street was the first condition approved.

ZBA Chair Sarah Mellish called the sidewalk “extremely important” and said that entrance road to the project was not wide enough for people to be walking on it.

Caitlin Eppes of Proctor Street, speaking earlier in the meeting, said as the mother of a child with disabilities, that the ADA-compliant sidewalk was important to her.

“I can only imagine how difficult it may be for her to get in and out,” said Eppes. “I would love to be able to review the access … to make sure that elderly and disabled people can live in this property sufficiently.”

The other condition approved will require that a certain percentage of the affordable units go to local citizens.  Twenty-five percent of the units, or 34 units, will be affordable.  Engler said it is commonplace for a local preference condition to be included.  He said these conditions usually included citizens of the town as well as people who worked for the town, but currently live outside of town.

Both conditions, as well as all of the waivers, were approved by 7-0 votes by the ZBA.

A few other conditions were deferred until additional information could be gathered.  Mellish suggested that the trucks carrying loads of soil, rock and debris off the site be required to travel south on School Street and turn off at Route 128.  She also suggested that those trucks cease operating during school commuting hours, since School Street is the main road used by Essex students to get to and from the middle and high school.

Engler said he had no problem with the Route 128 requirement but stopping operations twice a day would extend the process.

Mellish said she would check with the School Department for the correct times when buses would be on School Street.

ZBA member James Diedrich suggested a condition to require a police detail at the entrance to the project.  Mellish said she would talk to the Police Chief about that.

Mellish also suggested that parking space be included for at least two box delivery trucks, but ZBA members Diedrich and James Mitchell both said that delivery trucks would be the building management’s problem.

The waivers approved by the ZBA include:

  • Allowing multi-family or multi-unit dwellings in the Limited Commercial District.  The current bylaw does not allow any multi-family housing in the LCD.
  • Allowing the project to have impervious surfaces of 15.4 percent of the property.  The bylaw limits it to 15 percent but the inclusion of the ADA-compliant sidewalk would exceed the impervious limit.
  • Allowing the ZBA to act as the permit granting authority for the impervious surface waiver.
  • Allowing the project to have less than the required 500-foot lot width. The site is 291.2 feet wide.
  • Allow the project to have less than the required 150 feet setback from School Street and 100 feet from other lot lines.  The primary structure will be 82.6 feet from the street.
  • Allow the parking spaces to be smaller than the required 9- by 20-feet.  The parking spaces will be 9- by 18-feet.
  • Allow fewer parking spaces than required.  Bylaws would require 2.8 spaces per unit, or 383 spaces.  The project will have 236 spaces, or 1.7 spaces per unit.
  • Not requiring tree plantings for the underground parking lot.  The bylaws require one tree planted for each five parking spaces.
  • Allow the ZBA to act at the authority to grant a driveway or curb cut permit, instead of the Planning Board.
  • Allow the ZBA to act as the authority to grant the site plan review, instead of the Planning Board.
  • Allow the ZBA to act as the authority to approve a special permit, instead of the Planning Board.
  • Allow more than six dwelling units without a special permit by the Planning Board.

The ZBA will next meet on the Chapter 40B project on June 8 at 7 p.m. to discuss the Environmental Peer Review and to consider additional conditions and waivers.

local government in massachusetts, zoning board of appeals, urban planning in the united states, 40b law, planning board