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January 19, 2013

City offers project terms

PEABODY — Bria Lane off Lowell Street only exists on paper. But for years, it’s been the source of real trouble with nearby residents fighting to prevent a developer from building one to two houses on it.

That’s a far cry from the 100-home Boulderwood in South Peabody that set off a nearly two-decade-long battle, but it was enough last week to draw several dozen residents to an impromptu meeting with city officials at City Hall, including Mayor Ted Bettencourt. They were offered a compromise that would see the developer forswear any blasting, while only one house is built and an existing home restored.

Saugus builder Anthony Tiro says that’s OK with him. Moreover, he can’t understand the opposition after he’s made several efforts to satisfy the misgivings of residents. Tiro bought the foreclosed property roughly three years ago and originally intended to build two homes and rehab the house already on the site.

When his plan was turned down by the Board of Appeals, he launched an ongoing lawsuit.

“We’re going to see who’s right,” said the nearest neighbor, Thomas Gandolfo, a vigorous opponent of blasting. “He’s either going to take a stand and blast the hell out of the place. Or he is going to walk away.”

Gandolfo worries that the work on the site, which he says is mainly rock ledge, will be more than a nuisance, creating vibrations endangering a nearby retaining wall and the homes that depend on that wall for stability. “I’ve been battling (developers) for 25 years,” he adds, explaining that the site is a beautiful wooded area.

“A place where deer and antelope roam,” he jokes.

Yet, he worries that last week’s meeting may have swayed most of his neighbors toward the compromise.

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