By Alan Burke
---- — PEABODY — With heavy rain predicted, Mayor Ted Bettencourt ordered a berm of soil erected yesterday at the border of a controversial construction site near Winona Street.
“I’m going to allow the work to be done to hold back some of the water,” he said. Developer Richard Marchese is expected to pay for it, he added.
Earlier this year the mayor issued a cease and desist order on Marchese’s efforts to build homes on the land, which is adjacent to Winona Street. Previously, the developer had the property cleared of trees only to see last decade’s housing collapse put a stop to any home building, at least for now.
Meanwhile, water runoff has had Winona Street residents repeatedly complaining about widespread and significant damage, including flooded basements and swimming pools inundated with mud.
As a result of an order from the Planning Board last February, an independent engineer is reviewing the project.
Bettencourt stressed that his cease and desist order is only for the residential side of the project. There have been complaints regarding ongoing work on an adjacent commercial property on Route 1 that is also owned by Marchese.
Joseph Maio, whose parents’ property has been damaged by water in the past, expressed skepticism that the berm would halt the flooding. It’s a technique tried unsuccessfully in the past, he said.