Tuesday, October 17, 2017
   
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    Friday, August 25, 2017 08:53
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    Friday, June 09, 2017 00:00

News

In support of childhood cancer awareness month…

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Ella O’Donnell’s best friend, Lily Rocco is shown with her teammates from the Lynnfield Breakers soccer team who wore “Gold Socks” to support childhood cancer awareness in Lily’s memory recently. Ella O’Donnell of Peabody was only 10-years-old when she passed away from brain cancer in 2016.


 

Selectmen indefinitely postpone King Rail project

Given the new $2.5 million cost of constructing a clubhouse and storage building at the King Rail Reserve Golf Course, the Board of Selectmen recently voted to indefinitely postpone the project.

“I’m not comfortable with it at this point,” said Vice Chairman Richard Dalton during the board’s Oct. 2 meeting, adding that those funds are currently needed elsewhere – “The best course of action is to indefinitely postpone.”

Dalton was perturbed that the board did not receive the new cost estimate until Sept. 29. “We’re sharing this information at the 11th hour,” he said.

Selectman Philip Crawford said it would not make sense to present the project at the Oct. 16 Special Town Meeting, as construction is still more than one year away. “None of this is going to get done until late next fall,” he said. “We don’t have the funds to get this whole project done.” Therefore, Crawford said, it might be more realistic to put the King Rail project on the April 2018 Town Meeting Warrant.

Prior to the vote for indefinite postponement, John Savasta of CSS Architects said the cost of the project had increased by $400,000 to compensate for the testing, removal and replacement of soil. “The soil couldn’t really support anything,” he said, referring to the test results.

Although the abutters were initially anxious about the project, Savasta assured the board that those worries have been quelled. Therefore, he said, the project could be sent out to bid by the spring of 2018. “We felt it would bring a lot of value to the site,” said Savasta, adding that his company has been working on the project design for the past 16 months and “It’s going to be a worthwhile investment.”

Don Lyons, a PGA professional at King Rail, urged the board to take action sooner rather than later. “We’re going to lose business,” he said, adding that he has continued to tell patrons that improvements are coming; yet nothing is happening and “It hasn’t gotten any better.”

Chairman Christopher Barrett asked if it would be worthwhile to appeal the Order of Conditions that the Conservation Commission issued for the project in an effort to defray the cost. However, Town Administrator James Boudreau advised the board against taking such action, as it could possibly harm its relationship with the commission. He also said it would not be worth the effort to seek state funding at this time.

Special Town Meeting electronic check-in, voting

In other news, Town Clerk Trudy Reid said electronic voting and check-in systems will be used at Special Town Meeting. Reid said the decision came after she and Town Moderator Arthur Bourque met with officials in Rockport and North Reading, where this technology is already being used. “We will see two exciting happenings at Town Meeting,” said Reid.

Crawford spoke in favor of the swiftness created by the new electronic voting and check-in systems. “Based on our last Town Meeting, we would save over an hour,” he said.

By Christopher Roberson


 

 

Lynnfield businessman described the grit of post-Dunkirk Britain

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The recent smash hit film “Dunkirk” depicts the heroic evacuation of British troops from the French seacoast in May-June 1940. The British Expeditionary Force, along with French and Belgian allies, had been overwhelmingly surrounded by German troops, forcing them to retreat. During the nine-day withdrawal, some 338,226 shivering troops were rescued by the Royal Navy and the “little ships of Dunkirk, a flotilla of hundreds of merchant marine boats, fishing boats, pleasure craft, yachts, and lifeboats called into service from Britain.”

Winston Churchill

Prime Minister Winston Churchill described the event as a “miracle of deliverance” in his June 4, 1940, speech to the British House of Commons. He pledged, “We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills. We shall never surrender!” Churchill then rejoined, “We must be very careful not to assign to this deliverance the attributes of a victory. Wars are not won by evacuations.”

Letters to Lynnfield

Days of “blood, sweat, and tears” lay ahead for Britain. Observing the resolve of the Brits in these circumstances was Lynnfield businessman John Harriss (1896-1986), who lived outside of London with his wife and five children from 1939-1945. Harris wrote many letters home to be published in the Lynnfield Village Press, often mentioning the legacy of Dunkirk:

30 September, 1942

Dunkirk gave power to the British. If a nation needed a catastrophe to awaken it from a slumber, Britain did – and got it. We saw them on the station platforms and on the trains, dirty men with dirty uniforms, tired and weary, but not frightened. Most of them never had a chance to fight, but all of them had taken their place calmly on the Dunkirk beaches and awaited their turn for the boats. They knew now that they could stand up to anything Fritz had to offer but they also knew that they needed much equipment and needed it quickly.

On the heels of Dunkirk came the fear of invasion, the forming of the Home Guard, the long cold nights on duty and the determination of a group of middle-aged veterans to stop the tanks and dive bombers with the few poor rifles and shotguns at their command.

Disaster and defeat seemed the only things that could happen. Bombs fell fast and furious. Coventry, London, Birmingham, Liverpool and many others took their punishment – and came back for more. We saw the British courage at its best and we’ll never forget it …

America enters the war

Then came America’s Dunkirk – Pearl Harbor. America needed Pearl Harbor to awaken her to the danger. It was a costly awakening, to be sure but the result of it is now showing itself occasionally in the air over Milford Lodge [the Harriss family home in the countryside] and in the towns and cities of Britain, by the cocksure swagger of the American doughboy and the nonchalant manner of the American aviator.

A year later in his letter to his friends in Lynnfield dated May 1943, Harriss reflected:

During the trying days following Dunkirk, I found that the common man and woman were the backbone of this country. During one of the blackest periods in British history, they could not even admit the possibility of defeat. They refused to get excited and prepared to meet the invasion they felt sure was coming with the few paltry weapons remaining to them. Their preparation, aside from the Air Force and Navy, was clumsy, crude and inadequate, but they had faith in it, faith beyond all reason. During the bombings they displayed their grit, courage and toughness. Altogether they stood the test well.

Lynnfield readers must have appreciated these eyewitness accounts sent to the Village Press from “over there” throughout the duration of the war. Fortunately, John Harriss included these letters in a private memoir he wrote many years later.

Memoir courtesy of Robert Harriss.
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By Helen Breen


   

Planning Board hears proposal for zoning recodification

After eight months, five drafts and 10 sections, Attorney Mark Bobrowski presented his recommended changes to the town’s zoning bylaw. During his Sept. 27 presentation to the Planning Board, Bobrowski said he quickly discovered that Lynnfield’s bylaw did not have a Table of Uses. Therefore, that needs to be changed, as it is something that has become the norm in many communities throughout the state.

“It’s shocking sometimes, to see what you’ve been living with,” he said.

Bobrowski referred to the opening section, Purpose and Authority, as the “handshake of the bylaw.” His suggested change is to state that a zoning injury must be proven in order to show that the value of a home has diminished.

In the next section, dealing with Districts, Bobrowski said he added a provision for parcels that are divided by the town line; he did not suggest any other substantial changes to that part of the bylaw. “I didn’t add any districts,” he said.

The third section addresses Use Regulations. “Everybody screws those up,” said Bobrowski. One of his recommended changes is to have the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA), the Planning Board and the Board of Selectmen as granting boards.

Although the lot size requirements can remain the same, Bobrowski suggested removing the list of exceptions for lot sizes to prevent any future confusion. “It opens up so many cans of worms in cities and towns,” he said. “It’s better to stay with the state law.”

Regarding the section dealing with Non-Conforming Uses and Structures, Bobrowski said a non-conforming structure can be changed to a conforming structure with a Special Permit. He said an example would be converting a coffee shop into a real estate office.

For single-family homes, Bobrowski said that even if a lot is too small, a building permit should still be granted provided there is complete conformity in all other aspects of the project. “That should decrease the work of the ZBA substantially,” he said. “Right now, you’re holding hearings on all of these – what you have now is so behind the times.”

In addition, Bobrowski said signs that exceed the size stated in the current bylaw should be allowable with a Special Permit.

He also said there is no language in the current bylaw that addresses performance standards and strongly advised the board to rectify that. “You badly need something that talks about performance standards,” said Bobrowski.

Speaking about the Overlay District section, Bobrowski said that part of the bylaw focuses on Lynnfield’s flood plain and wetland buffer zones and makes reference to Chapter 40R, which “encourages communities to create dense residential or mixed-use smart growth zoning districts,” according to the state’s website. Although Chapter 40R is 20 pages long, Planning Board Member Brian Charville asked that it be included in the bylaw in its entirety.

Regarding Administration and Enforcement, Bobrowski said the Penalty Provision has increased from $100 a day to $300 a day. He also suggested adding information about building permits.

By Christopher Roberson


 

Lynnfield High School Girls Field Hockey recognized for Play4TheCure event

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Selectman Philip Crawford, Chairman Christopher Barrett and Vice Chairman Richard Dalton with members of the Lynnfield High School Girls Field Hockey Team to help promote the team’s Play4TheCure event on Oct. 4. (Advocate Photo By Christopher Roberson)


   

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