Peabody residents will soon be able to dine at a new Bagel World and Honey Dew donut shop, thanks to the City Council's approval Thursday night. And the often-controversial on Lowell Street will probably have new owners soon – ones that the neighbors think may cause them fewer problems.
The council approved special permits for drive-through access for ZSK Realty Trust, which plans to build a new Bagel World shop at 246-248 Newbury Street (Route 1) across from the
The Honey Dew donut shop will be part of a new shopping mall that will be built on the site of the now razed Countryside Motel at 130 Newbury Street.
The two shops were approved with little controversy.
In contrast, the discussion on the council's approval of the sale of grew heated as councilors Barry Sinewitz and James Liacos broke into a shouting match.
Westside has operated for the last three and a half years under a special permit with a long list of operating rules, driven in large part by complaints from neighbors.
The restaurant is being purchased from Mike Panousos by 682 Lowell Street Realty Trust, which is a partnership between Steve Judge and Roger Garcia.
Liacos said he hoped the new owners would buy this restaurant “with their eyes wide open.” He said he has never seen a restaurant have to operate under such strict regulations. He told Judge and Garcia that they should expect that any violation of the special permit rules will result in a call or visit from the police department.
Westside Restaurant and its neighbors have clashed repeatedly over restaurant operations. Police have been called to the restaurant when maintenance work was done late at night and when there have been late-night parties.
Sinewitz told Liacos that his comments were “insulting” to the neighbors. “I think it is unfair,” he said.
Liacos denied that he was blaming the neighbors for the controversy over the restaurant operations.
Several of the neighbors attended the hearing and said they support the sale to the new owners.
Judge said he has met with the neighbors and found their complaints justified.
The council agreed to change the special permit to allow for the sale of the restaurant, but it insisted that any future sale of the restaurant would have to be approved by the council.
Countryside Motel Razed for New Mall
The Honey Dew donut shop will be part of a new multi-tenant shopping mall that is planned for the old motel site that has been torn down. In addition to the donut shop, which will have a drive through, a bridal shop will occupy the full second story of the mall.
Before the new owners, Peabody Alpha Realty, can get a building permit, back taxes of about $150,000 will be paid.
Councilor David Gamache said the new mall, along with two other developments in the area, are improving the area along Route 1. “This is a project that has been overdue. Things are coming together,” he said.
New Voting Districts
In other business, the council approved new voting districts for the city, but the new districts will not take effect until 2012. Residents whose voting place changes as a result of the new district lines will be notified in December by postcard.
Councilor David Gravel asked the building inspector be asked to find solutions to the deteriorating building on Washington Street, once occupied by Danvers Bank. Councilor Arthur Athas said he understands that the building is being sold.
Liacos voiced his frustration that the council has no authority to do anything about “hefty pay increases” for senior employees at the Peabody Municipal Light Plant.
He said he has learned that there are several employment discrimination law suits filed against the non-profit electrical utility.
“Things are totally out of control over there,” Liacos said.
He said the Mayor Michael Bonfani should review the pay increases. But the councilor said he doubts if that will happen. “Maybe the next mayor will do something about this,” Liacos said.
The council agreed to conduct further investigation into whether two bus companies, which park buses on Pulaski Street, are paying their taxes to the city.