Residents rap latest MarketStreet cinema plan

May 30, 2018 by

Published in the May 30, 2018 edition


LYNNFIELD — The MarketStreet Advisory Committee (MSAC) was given an earful about National Development’s latest proposal to bring a cinema to MarketStreet Lynnfield during a public hearing on May 24.

The latest cinema proposal, which is currently prohibited by the Planned Village Development District (PVDD) agreement, entails building a theater featuring eight screens and 800 seats. The cinema would be located next to Gaslight.

Additionally, National Development has proposed building a parking garage in order to make up for the loss of parking. While National Development originally proposed building the garage next to California Pizza Kitchen, the firm is considering building the parking structure behind Wahlburgers. The development agreement allows a parking garage to be built.

National Development originally proposed constructing a cinema when the project was first conceived as Meadow Walk in 2007, but decided to abandon the proposal in order to win support from abutters and residents. A warrant article submitted in 2009 sought to amend the PVDD in order to build a cinema, but National Development Managing Partner Ted Tye said recently it did not receive the required two-thirds vote at Town Meeting. National Development also proposed building the cinema when the mall was under construction in 2013 and submitted a last minute warrant article in March 2017 that was withdrawn. The last two pitches were met with resistance from a number of residents and local officials.

Tye has given no indication when National Development would submit a Town Meeting warrant article. In order to construct a cinema at MarketStreet, voters would need to approve a warrant article that would amend the development agreement. Tye noted the PVDD allows 395,000 square feet of retail space and 80,000 square feet of office space to be built, totaling 475,000 square feet. Under National Development’s latest proposal, Tye wants to reduce the 80,000 square feet of office space to 40,000 square feet. In turn, a cinema just less than 40,000 square feet would be built.

Abutters blast proposal

The MSAC held the public hearing in order to gather feedback from residents about the cinema proposal. All of the residents who weighed in on the project said they were against it. Tye and National Development officials sat quietly in the back of the Al Merritt Center during the public hearing.

Colonial Village resident Bob Sarcia presented the MSAC with a petition signed by 55 residents outlining their opposition to building the parking garage next to CPK.

“We the residents living at L.I.F.E.’s Colonial Village are very concerned about the location of the new proposed parking garage,” said Sarcia. “The residents of Colonial Village are strongly opposed to the garage site proposal alternative 1. The alternative 1 site would be adjacent to California Pizza Kitchen and is across the street from L.I.F.E.’s Colonial Village. The alternative 2 site would be behind Walburgers. While we are not opposed to a new parking garage, we are opposed to building the garage at the alternative 1 site. Alternative number 2 would not have any negative effects on Colonial Village. We strongly urge the MSAC to reject the alternative 1 site.”

Sylvan Circle resident Richard Mazzola said he opposes the cinema project because it would increase traffic. He said the town is “under siege” because of “the effects associated with MarketStreet.”

“We all know that traffic varies depending on the times of the day,” said Mazzola. “We can draw a correlation that any increase in traffic would increase the possibility of accidents. Therefore, traffic becomes a safety issue to all of those traveling and using the roads to access MarketStreet. Patrons of MarketStreet who are not residents increase our risk of safety, and the residents of Lynnfield who travel to and from their homes must incur an increase of safety risk caused by the traffic from MarketStreet on a daily basis. The residents and neighbors who live near MarketStreet most likely cannot avoid the traffic and the increased risk. These residents and neighbors were here before MarketStreet.”

Mazzola said local officials should prohibit construction of the cinema until “National Development determines an alternate means to the MarketStreet property.”

Colonial Village resident Joyce Westover expressed concerns about who would be responsible for policing the proposed parking garage in order to make sure there weren’t any “vagrants or people looking to cause harm.”

“When there is a parking structure, there are problems that are frequently encountered,” said Westover. “I think that needs to be considered very carefully before (National Development) puts up a problem.”

Heath Circle Sara Richman said it recently took her 15 minutes to get Whole Foods Market because she was stuck at the lights at the intersection.

“That intersection was just gridlock that day,” said Richman. “Cars were running red lights. It was a demolition derby out there. It’s just amazing there were no accidents.”

Fernway resident Frank Ricciardi said he was originally opposed to MarketStreet, but said, “I use the development and really enjoy it.”

“I want to commend the developer for bringing this to Lynnfield,” said Ricciardi. “However, there are many aspects of the development that need further study and improvements to keep the neighbors safe. I am amazed by the developer’s persistence in recommending a theater that has been voted down previously. It is really annoying to keep having a theater brought up when this community has spoken two times and has voted it down. I don’t appreciate that and I know a lot of the neighbors don’t as well.”

Ricciardi said the MarketStreet intersection is “a complete disaster.” He said a number of motorists heading into the mall speed frequently, resulting in accidents.

“It’s terrifying,” said Ricciardi. “Increases in accidents result in people’s injuries and deaths. Our neighbors are the ones traveling these roads most frequently.”

Stephanie Hines, 6 Fernway, expressed frustration about National Development proposing the cinema for the fifth time.

“I wonder why it needs to keep coming up again and again and again,” said Hines. “Is there ever going to be a time when no cinema means no cinema? It’s time for Ted Tye and National Development to listen to us.”

Karen Ruecker, 29 Fernway, said building a cinema would exacerbate the traffic problem at MarketStreet.

“What we have now is not manageable,” said Ruecker. “We don’t need more cars coming to a cinema.”

Ruecker also aired concerns about the proposed cinema potentially having a bar and serving alcohol.

“Do we need another saloon in Lynnfield,” Ruecker asked. 

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