Hotel on stilts eyed for former junkyard site in Peabody

Project, surrounded by wetlands, has been in Con Com for over year

The Salem News | By John Castelluccio
March 3, 2017

PEABODY — Arthur Pimental wants to build a four-story hotel atop an old junkyard that’s nestled between a lot of wetlands off Route 1.

The project has been sitting before the city’s Conservation Commission for the past 14 months, undergoing revision upon revision, but it’s unclear if the proposal is any closer to receiving the board’s blessing than at the start.

The public hearing first opened in December 2015 on a proposal from Pimental for a three-story hotel with associated site work for 190 Rear Newbury St.

The commission is slated to resume its discussion March 8, but likely won’t take a vote to issue an order of conditions or reject the plan until its April meeting, according to Conservation Agent Lucia DelNegro.

She said there are still many unanswered questions over adequate clearance around the proposed building for fire apparatus, as well as other inspectional issues that could raise red flags regarding how much impervious surface is truly needed for the site. It’s surrounded by a large amount of wetlands, she said. Public works engineers have yet to review the plans.

The current version of the project has the hotel on stilts above a parking lot, according to minutes of the commission’s February 2017 meeting.

“I am never comfortable with that kind of a situation. Too many times we get in trouble,” said commissioner Joel Whitman, according to the minutes. He was referring to the lack of input from other city departments. “I would like to see a final set of plans and these things answered for us. That way we know exactly what (a city-hired consultant) says: ‘What are we buying?’ I am not really sure what we are buying here.”

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