GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

March 21, 2013

Granite Street homeowner looking to expand

By James Niedzinski
Staff Writer

---- — ROCKPORT — The owner of a house on 121 Granite St., commonly referred to as the brick house, is now planning to construct an additional single family house on the same street.

The owner of the house, a company called Roma III Ltd., has it’s general manager is listed as Julie Roma, while Ronald Roma is known to live at the brick house.

Although Building Inspector Paul Orlando said no plans for demolition have been seen by his office, Alan Battistelli, the zoning administrator for the town, said Roma does plan to demolish one house, one small cottage and one shed at 133 Granite St. in place of the current buildings, one of which was built in 1905, another single family home will be constructed Battistelli said Wednesday.

In December of 2011 Roma paid $950,000 for a parcel of land on 129 Granite Street, in October of 2012, Roma purchased one section of property at 133 Granite St. for $1.375M.

The two properties were rolled into one plot of land, roughly 70,000 square feet at 133R Granite St. in December according to the Salem Registry of Deeds.

Roma’s developments have raised concerns in the past.

In 2011, some residents were critical of the destruction of the house on 129 Granite St. Jane O’Maley Beauvais had alleged there was a conflict of interest, as Battistelli is also a contractor who has worked for Roma in demolishing the previous house and constructing the current brick one.

O’Maley among other residents, alleged that Battistelli and his wife Erin — currently the Chairman of the Board of Selectmen — had used their influences as town officials to tear down the houses.

However, later in January, Kopelman and Paige, the town’s counsel, determined there was no conflict of interest as selectmen have no say weather or not a house can be demolished. Additionally, the board cannot dictate what other members or volunteer town officials where to do business.

Gregg Corbo, the attorney, had determined officials had done more than what was required to recuse themselves. Officials had typically left the meeting altogether when any conflict of interest would arise, Corbo said all officials had to do was excuse themselves from voting.

Residents have also previously expressed their concern about the house at 129 Granite St. which was demolished, as it was built in 1809. Planning Board members fielded questions and concerns about the previous from residents in February of 2012, the board urged residents to look at reports about the changing demographics in the town.

Also in 2011, the Federal Aviation Administration launched an investigation about a helicopter that had hovered above Roma’s house. However, it was determined no laws were broken, Roma was riding as a passenger while a helicopter pilot was giving him lessons. He also sought to put a helicopter landing pad on the house, but those plans did not come to fruition.

Hank Betts, Chairman of the Planning Board said there is no site plan review scheduled yet, but the item is a discussion topic at tonight’s Planning Board meeting, slated for 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall Annex.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.