Jon Winkler / Sun
Ziad Ramadan, left, and David Chenelle discussing a new apartment building at Pine Ridge Estates

TOWNSEND —Ziad Ramadan has a bit more work to do before he gets going on building a replacement for his fire-ravaged apartment building.

The public hearing for Ramadan’s request for a special permit and variance to construct a new apartment complex at Pine Ridge Estates on Fitchburg Road was temporarily closed by the Zoning Board of Appeals Wednesday night. However, Ramadan was not issued the permit or the variance as the board requested he hire a firm to perform drainage calculations for his proposed three-story apartment building.

Ramadan owns 106 of the condos inside of Pine Ridge’s five buildings, one of which caught fire on the night of Feb. 4 and displaced 48 people. Ramadan first appeared in front of the ZBA on May 15 with plans to rebuild the legally pre-existing, non-conforming structure with some improvements. He originally proposed adding an elevator to comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a wider parking lot.

During Wednesday’s public hearing, Board Chair William Cadogan noted how the new building would be over 13,000 square feet, 121 percent larger than the original building. The number of single-bedroom units also increased from the originally-proposed 24 to 30, the height of the building would be higher at about 76 feet and the new building would be set further back from Fitchburg Road.

Ramadan said he originally bought the site of Pine Ridge in 2009 and has gone through many hardships to keep the location intact. He recalled having complete septic failure when he first bought the location and it taking a full year to install a new system, only to have to then replace the fire alarms in the buildings shortly after. He said that he wanted the new building to be “high-end.”

“I’ve been bogged down with one thing after another but I would never not finish anything,” he said. “I just like to have things really nice.”

The board’s Vice Chair Darlene Sodano repeatedly brought up concerns about the size of the new building and how it would “overpower” the other apartment buildings on the property. While the new, larger building would follow current zoning code, Sodano also brought up concerns about the new building being completed and maintained, citing a recent site visit where she saw an in-ground pool that seemingly hadn’t been filled in some time.

“Making sure the project gets finished is of importance,” she said. “I want to feel like this thing is going to be maintained and financed. It’s not that I want it torn down and not rebuilt, it’s just too big.”

Before the hearing was closed, the board had Ramadan sign an agreement extending the ZBA sufficient time for him to acquire the drainage calculation.

Ramadan said at the hearing that he intends to contact Ross Engineering to perform the calculations.


Jon Winkler: @MrJW595 on Twitter