Developer to Demolish Portion of Former Waverly Mill
The commission on Thursday heard from Emily Stockman, a wetlands scientist, representing developer Spinning Mill LLC that wants to knock down a structurally compromised portion of the historic mill.
"They want the demolition now because the caretaker on the property noticed collapsing roofs and other issues," Stockman said. "We think this needs to happen sooner than later."
South County developer Jeffrey Cohen purchased the 214,000-square-foot mill in 2014 with plans to install affordable workforce apartments. Waverly-Schumacher mill No. 4 was shuttered in 1991, putting 400 people out of work.
As of today, no major construction has begun and the mill is on the market for $2.85 million. Cohen is currently working on a $60 million renovation of the Eagle Mill in Lee into housing as part of a multi-use development around the mill.
Stockman said the flood control chute is to the east of the Adams mill and there is a tributary to the west.
The plan is to demolish the nearly 9,000-square-foot portion of the mill on the south side and remove the impervious degraded area, which will be converted to a vegetative area with erosion control set prior to work.
She said this work is away from the river.
"The demolition before you would all take place on the paved areas," she said. "We have designated a stockpile area that is out of jurisdiction and as you can see it is all west of the building a ways from the river."
Stockman said there are a few smaller areas disconnected from the main structure that will also be part of the demolition and that the structure has been cleared of asbestos.
She asked that Spinning Mill LLC receive credit for this 9,000 square feet that could go toward future mitigation work on the site.
"What we are asking the commission is for the credit for the square footage we are going to demolish and the reason for that is any future projects would be considered redevelopment," she said. "We ask that you take into account the existing degraded area because the developer does not want to lose credit."
The commission had no immediate concerns about the credit but just wanted to be sure that this credit could not be sold or used on another site.
Stockman said this is not allowed in Massachusetts.
Commissioner Thomas Robinson was concerned about the actual flood control chute and said although the demolition project would likely not affect the area, future construction could affect the flood control.
"This building probably is as close to the flood chute as any building project we have ever had before this board and I am very concerned about the integrity of the walls," he said. "One side is 2 feet from the wall and the other is less than 50 feet."
Robinson suggested that the company take out a bond prior to work.
Commissioner James Fassell agreed and noted that flood control is critical to the town and the chutes cannot be compromised.
"These walls get a bad rap in town but without those walls, the town does not exist," he said.
Stockman said temporary access will be needed along the flood control for this project but it will be clear that vehicles have to stay away from the wall. She added that she would convey this concern to the developers.
Even though the commissioners were familiar with the site, Fassell asked that they visit it before making a determination at a meeting later this month.
Stockman did add that Spinning Mill plans to come before the commission for the full Notice of Intention once it is ready to go forward with the project.
In other business, the commission also approved a negative request for determination for upcoming construction on Russell Field on behalf of the town of Admas.
The town has applied for funds to overhaul the park and playing fields.
The commission did place a few mandates on the town and asked that they clean debris from the stream bed, designate a ten foot wide no mowing area along the stream, and phase the project.
There was a fear that if heavy rains hit the town during the regrading and reseeding the park would turn into a mud pit.
Tags: conservation commission, demolition, mill reuse,
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