Skip to content




Lancaster Road site to

store ice-melting agent?

SHIRLEY — Property owner Steven Mannix wants to rent his property at 100 Lancaster Road to a tenant who wants to store a new type of ice-melting agent.

He approached the Planning Board at its April 3 meeting to get input from the town.

The tenant had to leave his storage facility in Ayer because it’s in a water overlay district, said Mannix.

Mannix wants to make sure it would be OK to rent his property for the same use, but “I can’t find anybody to poke a hole in it.” He said he contacted the Conservation Commission and building inspector about it and was directed to the board.

The product in question consists of raw calcium chloride mixed with a brewery byproduct, said Mannix. Part of any plan to store it would include a spill protocol, he said.

This particular chemical is a replacement for rock salt used to melt ice on roads, said Planner Rod Thurston.

It’s catching on, said Planner William Carroll.

This use is similar to a contractor’s yard, said Associate Planner John Rounds, Mannix is required to file for a special permit and site-plan review. It would be helpful to the applicant to obtain letters from the people and committees who voiced support for the idea, he added. — Richard Breyer

Rezoning might work

better than permits

SHIRLEY — Paul Puma, of R&P Realty, has asked the Planning Board to clarify zoning bylaws that apply to his company’s rental property on 49 Leominster Road.

Puma’s property is a pre-existing, non-conforming use. Once a nightclub, it predates current zoning.

But as the site changes use with different tenants, it requires new permits.

Puma said he’s looking to streamline the process because nobody wants to rent the space when they have to keep getting permits. Under current zoning, he said every time the site has a new tenant that uses it in a different way or expands its use, the tenant needs a new variance from the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), which can have a limited duration.

Associate Planner John Rounds recommended Puma seek legal counsel on the issue. If such an application came before the board, he said it would need to seek its own legal advice.

Puma asked if he could get a permit for a specific use for the site that would remain in effect even with a change in tenants.

Perhaps Puma needs relief from zoning, said Rounds, which is a ZBA issue and most likely not within the Planning Board’s power.

Another option would be to change the zoning from residential use to commercial or industrial. To do so, Puma would need to petition town meeting to include the property, along with its abutters, in a different district.

Such an option could be pursued by getting the opinions of his neighbors on the idea, Rounds told Puma.

“If they’re in favor, the town won’t be in a position to object,” said Rounds.

The main difficulty with changing the zoning is it can’t be done for a single parcel alone, he said. That would be spot zoning, which he said town meeting can’t approve.

Rejected bylaw change

included in update

SHIRLEY — Andrew Deveau, of the Zoning Bylaw Review Committee, has problems with the text of the recently re-codified town bylaws.

There was a copying error when the document was brought up to date, he reported at the April 3 Planning Board meeting, which included language for a new zoning district that was voted down at town meeting.

Before the error was caught, Deveau said, the incorrect copy had been signed and approved. The question now becomes how to fix it.

Deveau proposed sending letters out to residents in the nonexistent district — the Great Road East Mixed-Use district — to let them know of the error and the steps being taken to fix it.

Why not simply fix the typo, asked Associate Planner John Rounds.

Board Chairman Charles Colburn asked if the board could re-visit the zoning issue. If the district was split in two, he said, the southeast side would have passed at town meeting.

“If we had to remove the district or make a place for it, I’d rather make a place for it,” said Colburn.

The first step would be to contact the residents within the potential district, he said, which the board doesn’t object to. — Richard Breyer

Planners still waiting

for payment from GFI

SHIRLEY — The Planning Board still hasn’t received payment from GFI-Shirley to fund the clerk of the works and licensed site professional (LSP) accounts for the Apple Orchard Estates housing development on Windsor Road.

The accounts are paid at GFI’s expense, since it is the developer of the project.

The board had received a request from GFI to use some of the LSP’s billable time by phone. It was the understanding of the board that the purpose of the contact was for budgeting, hopefully leading to refilling those accounts.

The board voted to allow GFI only one hour of phone time with the LSP due to limited account funds, including a stipulation that if any more time was needed the account would need more funding to cover the cost of the LSP’s time. — Richard Breyer