Residents not happy with water company on Lowell Street

Aug 10, 2017 by

Published in the August 9, 2017 edition

By DAN TOMASELLO

LYNNFIELD — A group of residents frustrated with activities allegedly being undertaken by Boston Clear Water Company (BCWC), 165 Lowell St., has taken its case to the Zoning Board of Appeals.

On Aug. 1, Bill O’Brien, 155 Lowell St., appeared before the ZBA in order to seek administrative relief from the water company. However, ZBA Acting Chairman John Fallon told O’Brien “there was an issue with the notice that was sent.”

“The notice was not sent properly to the property owner,” said Fallon. “The Board of Appeals will take the heat on that. It’s not something we are accustomed to doing.”

Attorney Brian McGrail, who is representing BCWC, told the ZBA “I am here tonight for the sole purpose to object the matter going forward” due to the way his client, Anthony Gattineri, was notified of the meeting. He subsequently requested a continuance.

“We request testimony be postponed and continued so we can be prepared for the next meeting,” said McGrail.

O’Brien agreed to continuing the matter until Tuesday, September 12.

Group airs concerns

O’Brien and fellow residents Mary Bliss, Jack Farrell, Andy Gallucci and John Sievers were scheduled to request that the ZBA “restore our beautiful area to a safe and peaceful neighborhood,” according to a Powerpoint presentation obtained by the Villager. The group calls itself Lynnfield Residents Opposed to Boston Clear Water Activities.

The petitioners want the ZBA to “designate and enforce specific operating times” for BCWC, preferably between the hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday-Saturday. The petitioners also want the company to remove a water tanker and eliminate “24/7 music.”

Additionally, the petitioners want Boston Clear Water Company to stop its alleged “fear and intimidation” practices.

According to a copy of the presentation, the concerned residents stated the Pocahontas Spring Water Co. closed on March 30, 2012. The group said it was informed by the Health Department that the town did not close the facility.

“The Pocahantas Water Co. land, buildings and spring was owned by a trust controlled by Larry and Lucy Marie Vazzana, who directly lived at 163 Lowell St.,” reads the presentation. “The Vazzana’s sold only their home to John and Heather Sievers on April 28, 2006. The water company property was not included.”

After the Pocahontas Spring property went on the market on April 4, 2014, it was sold to Boston Clear Water Co., LLC, which is controlled by Winchester resident Anthony Gattineri and “several other A. Gattineri controlled LLC’s.” According to The Boston Globe, a federal jury acquitted Gattineri and two other co-defendants on charges they tried to hide Charles Lightbody’s financial ties in a deal that involved selling land in Everett to Wynn Resorts as part of a plan to develop a casino at the site.

The petitioners state the BCWC property is a non-conforming business located in a residentially zoned neighborhood.

According to a series of complaints levied at the company, the group states Gattineri and civil engineer Paul Machionda urged two abutters to sell their homes to the company so they could expand the business into a “full-time commercial water distribution facility.”

“This would involve heavy commercial water tankers and trucks rumbling through our entire neighborhood,” the group states.

The group said, “non-permitted construction took place at BCWC in the wetlands and/or buffer zone” in April 2015. The group stated the work was undertaken with no permits issued by the town, and “heavy box trucks” repeatedly came and left the property throughout 2015.

The concerned residents said unauthorized construction involving heavy dump trucks and backhoes took place on Saturday, July 23, 2016. A stone retaining wall and pool was constructed along with other invasive activity, which the group said led to “severe damage” being inflicted to the wetlands and buffer zone. The Conservation Commission was subsequently notified.

Additionally, the group alleges BCWC employees have done inappropriate acts such as intimidating residents at a Conservation Commission meeting in August 2016 as well as two incidents involving public urination, including one at the Sievers property. The group also accused BCWC of storing a large tanker truck on the Sievers’ property and said the “ConCom chased BCWC owners for the remainder of 2016 to comply with a restoration order.”

The group alleges loud music and screaming has occurred at the property since March. The group also alleged Gattineri spray-painted in an abutter’s driveway and made “intimidating statements” to an abutter and relative.

Building inspector response

After receiving a complaint from the group, Building Inspector Jack Roberto sent a letter on June 20. In the letter, Roberto told the concerned residents he was not going to approve the requested enforcement proceedings.

“In general, a prior non-conforming use is a use which was legal when commenced but which has since been forbidden by the applicable zoning bylaw,” said Roberto. “In Lynnfield, the right to continue such a use is lost if it is abandoned for a period of two years. In this case, I understand that a commercial spring operation has been conducted on the premises for a very long time, and that in fact the said use commenced prior to the adoption of zoning in Lynnfield in 1929. If my understanding is correct, and you have offered no evidence to the contrary, then the first requirement of prior non-conforming use status is satisfied, in that the use was legal (i.e. not prohibited by zoning) when commenced.

“Since the premises are located in a single residence zone, the said use would be illegal if not protected as a prior non-conforming use,” Roberto continued. “I am aware that in recent years the said use was not prosecuted for period of time, but I would need proof that such non-use constituted ‘abandonment’ and that it lasted for at least two years before I could conclude that prior non-conforming use status had been forfeited. Again, I have not received any evidence upon which I could make such a determination.”

Roberto’s letter led the concerned residents to seek relief from the ZBA.

Error explained

At the end of the ZBA’s meeting, zoning board secretary Winnie Barrasso explained how the notification error occurred. After an application is submitted, Barrasso said she brings it to the assessor’s office in order to obtain a copy of the listed abutters as part of the notification process.

As part of the O’Brien case, Barrasso said a clerical error made in the assessor’s office led to Gattineri being incorrectly informed of the ZBA meeting.

“It was kind of a glitch,” said Barrasso.

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