DANVERS — The fate of the former site of an ink and paint plant that blew up in a fireball nearly seven years ago and devastated a Danversport neighborhood has been decided, as the Planning Board has granted permission for a boatyard there, Senior Planner Kate Day said.
“The town treated me very fairly and very well,” said Jeffrey Bunk of Danvers, the owner of Bunky’s Marina on Liberty Street, about his dealings with the Zoning Board of Appeals, Conservation Commission and Planning Board.
Tuesday night, the Planning Board unanimously granted special permit and site plan approval to Bunky Realty LLC for boat storage and brokerage at the 0.8-acre site at 128R Water St.
The parcel is bounded by homes on Bates Street to the north, a seafood restaurant to the west, and Liberty Marina to the south and east. The board also granted permission for Bunk to build a 4,500 square-foot office with bathrooms and a garage. The building will be in keeping with other wooden clapboard buildings in the area, Bunk said.
Bunk bought the property for $202,000 in January from the former owners of the destroyed CAI/Arnel plant, town records show.
He did so to provide himself with a second boatyard with the coming of the state reconstruction of culverts on Liberty Street. The work threatens to cut off his boat-storage business from the boat ramp access to Popes Landing just across Porter River.
Up until January, a rusting tank and burnt trees were constant reminders of the Nov. 22, 2006, early-morning chemical plant accident, which resulted in a blast that shook the region. The fiery explosion destroyed the plant, damaged or destroyed dozens of homes, and displaced residents. While there were some injuries, no one was killed.
“The residents really went through hell over there, and I don’t think any residential neighbor opposed it,” he said. In dealings with the EPA to buy the site, Bunk said he told officials the abandoned site was an “open wound,” the sight of which was a constant reminder to residents of what they went through.