City officials shut down construction at a commercial project on Route 1 this week after complaints were made by neighbors that their yards were being flooded by mud and silt from the work site whenever it rained.
The property in question, owned by Richard Marchese, abuts Winona Street and sits off Route 1 behind the Royal Garden and a new multi-story commercial building at 130 Newbury St.
It's a longstanding -- and controversial -- project that underwent numerous proposals over the years before the latest plan for a high-end used car lot. That proposal was part of a larger development plan for both 128 and 130 Newbury St.
The Salem News reports that Mayor Ted Bettencourt issued a cease and desist order to Marchese after seeing evidence of the damage to neighbors' property. City inspectors and other officials then confirmed those issues after investigating the complaints, according to the paper.
The Planning Board will hold a hearing Feb. 7 to determine if Marchese has abided by his site permit or if there are in fact violations that need to be dealt with. Bettencourt told the Salem News it appears Marchese did not complete required mitigation work to deal with site runoff.
This is not the first time neighbors have complained about Marchese and development of the land (along with a long dormant housing development of Marchese's to the rear of the site) to city officials.
They complained in 2008 that Marchese clear cut the land slated for housing, which then caused problems with dust and runoff into the neighborhood -- that development continued to lag as it was due to the poor economy and housing market.
Meanwhile, successive plans for the commercial land included first a sports bar and billiards to a massive entertainment and bowling facility, neither of which panned out for Marchese.
He also entered a long legal battle with the city after the Licensing Board finally revoked his liquor license for 128 Newbury St. after more than two years of inactivity at the site despite Marchese's promises.