Dispute Settled, Blasting Set for This Week in South Peabody

Blasting on the site of the 110-home development off Bartholomew Street is slated to begin July 18 and will continue Monday through Friday.

City officials and Lynn developer David Solimine have resolved their differences and Solimine has a green light once again to begin work in earnest on his 110-home development in South Peabody. Activity re-commenced at the site on Monday.

Blasting at the site, which is located off Bartholomew Street, is slated to begin July 18. Solimine's blasting contractor received a permit on Friday from the , following the resolution of . 

City officials initially stopped work at the site because they said Solimine did not secure a number of permits and provide needed documentation before breaking ground on the project, such as permits for site work, earth removal and installing foundations and submitting documents to the Planning Board per a court agreement from 2007.

Solimine argued no violations had occurred, saying he had all the necessary permits and approvals in place. His legal team met with city attorneys on Thursday to try and resolve the issues. Both sides then agreed to a settlement by Friday and lifted the cease and desist order.

Solimine released details of the settlement to reporters over the weekend.

"I would like to commend Mayor Bettencourt and Peabody City Solicitor Michael Smerczynski for quickly calling a meeting of Peabody officials to resolve the issues raised by the Peabody building commissioner," Solimine said. "I have always maintained that we have all the required permits and approvals in place for the work that we are currently doing and I am pleased that we have reached this agreement and will be moving forward with our project."

Bettencourt said on Monday that the city was satisfied that the settlement resolved those issues and the project was in full accordance with the 2007 court agreement.

"It was important to let the developer know we're keeping a close eye on [Boulderwood]...the best I can do is to make sure those conditions are followed through," said Bettencourt, again noting that the massive development essentially fell in his lap this spring when .

The settlement states that the permit violations were purged from the record, given that Solimine would apply for a site work permit and seek a foundation permit when he reached that point of construction. He still disputed the necessity of the former permit, however, and both sides eventually agreed that no earth removal had been performed at the site yet.

Solimine would seek the necessary permit from the City Council when it came time for that phase.

The agreement also addresses the long-awaited water tower and corresponding upgrades to the distribution system in that area. Solimine said he placed $1 million in an escrow account at on Friday to cover part of that expense.

If he fails to follow through with a mutually acceptable plan within 30 days, he forfeits the money, and likewise if he fails to build the water tower, upgrade a booster station and install several thousand feet of new water mains before the first lot is built, he forfeits the money. 

Under the initial project approval more than a decade ago from the Planning Board, Boulderwood had to include a new tower and related upgrades to help improve water service to the area. At one time there was a deal with neighboring developers to jointly pay for the tower, but that deal dissolved over the years and now Solimine is solely responsible as far as the city is concerned.

Solimine is also paying $2,000 to Richard Carnevale to serve as a consultant on the tower and water upgrades. Carnevale is the former director in Peabody and husband of new city Treasurer Jean Carnevale.

He resigned from his post in 2008 for personal reasons and to further his career with the U.S. Army Reserve, according to former Mayor Michael Bonfanti in 2008. Carnevale was a colonel in the Reserve and is now the Director of Public Works in North Reading.

Solimine said Carnevale's services were at Bettencourt's request.

Bettencourt said on Monday that he asked for Carnevale to consult on the project because he was involved in the initial permitting for Boulderwood, specifically the water upgrades, and all his other department heads involved now are essentially new to the project.

"It really wouldn't have mattered who it was," Bettencourt said. "It just happened to be [Carnevale]."

He acknowledged the public might view it as a favor to a friend and former city official, but Bettencourt stressed that Carnevale is really the only one with "institutional knowledge" of the plan and his involvement will just be limited to the water upgrades.

Solimine said he also met with the Planning Board again Thursday to share a progress update and ensure he was meeting all the board's requirements. He said the board found everything was in compliance.

As for blasting, Solimine said, the contractor must hand-deliver notices to homes that directly abut the project both in Peabody and Lynn and place legal notices in local news outlets. There will be a paid detail officer on-site from the when blasting occurs and additionally for independent monitoring of blasting activity. Any blasting within 250 feet of homes does require a pre-blast survey of those homes at Solimine's expense.

Explosive Technology, which will be performing the blasting, says daily blasts will occur between 9:30 a.m. and 2:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. There will be three long horns 5 minutes before a blast, two short horns at 1 minute and one horn to signal "all clear" after a blast.

"My son Michael and I look forward to working cooperatively with Peabody officials as we move forward with the construction of this project that will bring a much needed boost to the local economy," said Solimine.

netminderone July 22, 2012 at 04:37 AM
I live on Lynnfield st. directly across from bartholomew st. & after 30yrs., I think I'm on main st. Peabody. I now can't leave my house between 7:30 & 8:30 cause the traffic backs up to the YMCA to the rotary. 3 times in 2yrs., I had to fight the city to come fix the front of my house & driveway because people drive over my property instead of waiting for the cars turning left on Bartholomew st.. There's at least 3 auto accident's a month at the corner. My house went from nice,wooded & private to a road like RT-114. The value of my house has dropped 30%(not because of the economy)but because of the volume of traffic. How come my taxes keep going up? As for Dunk's being built in that plaza, before that mall was built, every resident said OK,as long as there are no food restraunt's & there was an ordinance written saying NO FOOD JOINT'S ALLOWED! See ,the city of Peabody changes the rules when they want & screw the property owners. Who changed the ordinance to allow a Food place to be put in? I never received a notice from the city asking for this change,did anybody else? Both project's affecting us are ILLEGAL & it has to be addressed. Let's stick togeather & stop it.
Eddie Doyle July 26, 2012 at 01:16 PM
With many nice properties on the market, and so many vacant, bank-owned properties available, I fail to see the logic in building another 100-200 new homes in an already densely populated area of Peabody... Where is the logic???
Janet McAskill January 11, 2013 at 07:29 PM
The blasting at Boulderwood actually makes my house shake and rumble, but because we are well outside the 250-foot radius, no one cares. And with the windows shut, we don't hear the warning whistles. It sucks. And I agree about the traffic situation. The traffic added to the Den Quarry Rd area in Lynn will be a nightmare.
and2985 June 07, 2013 at 06:41 PM
The city of Peabody is an absolute joke!! Talk about keeping it in the family Bettencourt.... We are all just supposed to take your "word" that Carnevale just so happened to be the only credible person who could act as the consultant for this project? Give me a break!! Furthermore I think its extremely hypocritical that the city is in favor for allowing this monstrosity of a neighborhood to be constructed on an already busy, heavily traveled road! What schools will become over crowded due to these new residents? The City of Peabody recently passed a new "bylaw' that now deems property owners responsible for "CITY" trees that are on CITY property. If a "CITY" tree is in supposed good health but is decaying in front of your property, tearing up the sidewalks and poses risk of damaging your property or possibly causing injury to a passerby, the resident and tax payer must pay out of pocket to remove such said tree. The forestry department, and I use the word department loosely, "will not advocate the cutting down of any CITY tree if they deem them to be healthy." Are the acres upon acres of woods where this 110-home development is being constructed infested with "unhealthy" trees? If a tax-paying resident of Peabody has had on-going issues with a tree in front of their property, which is situated on CITY land but the City does not want to absorb the cost of the removal of that tree, what is to prevent the city from lying and just stating that CITY tree is "healthy"?
and2985 June 07, 2013 at 07:06 PM
I would also love to know what the City of Peabody has planned for the wildlife that currently inhabits those dense woods? Will these 110 new homes sell unlike the current ones that still sit empty on the market for 500k+ on Bartholomew Street? What about the unfinished neighborhood on Antonio Dr? Would it not be logical to complete that neighborhood prior to the blasting and construction of this new project? With over 200+ single family homes currently on the market in the City is it really necessary to add an additional 110 to this stale less then favorable housing market? Besides snow and trash removal what else do the current property taxes pay for, besides Mr. Bettencourt's new yearly raise that he kindly granted himself!! As stated earlier in my above comment.. The City of Peabody is an absolute JOKE!!


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