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What's Up with the Gas Station Project on North Street?

Here's an update on the North Street gas station project that several readers have asked about.

After three years of waiting and wrangling over trees and drainage, bulldozers and workmen have descended on the vacant gas station on North Street to replace an unapproved drain and build a retaining wall to stop the water runoff that flooded neighbors' yards.

Left undone is the planting of trees to replace those that were cut down three years ago.The cutting of several tall trees set off a battle that , Haralampos Sidiropoulos of Trickett Realty Trust.

The city building department, backed by a unanimous City Council, has refused to grant a certificate of occupancy to the station, pending the resolution of the landscaping issues. That has prevented the new station from operating.

'A Lot More Work to be Done'

“There has been some progress,” said neighbor Helen Papadopoulos. “But there is still a lot of work to be done. I'm cautiously hopeful about the progress, but we will always remain concerned as long as things are incomplete.”

Ward 6 Councilor Paul C. Prevey, who has championed the neighbors' cause, said he understands that the project is waiting on the landscape architect to return from an overseas trip to review the plan for planting the trees one more time before they are installed this spring.

David Knowlton, the city engineer, has checked the new drain, Prevey said.

Prevey said he is considering calling a meeting of the owner and the neighbors before the Council to get an update on the progress at the station.

Papadopoulos said she would like to have the Council hold a meeting “to push things along.”

Last fall, all councilors signed a letter urging the building department not to grant the station its permit until all the issues are fixed.

The owner wanted to open before the holidays. Through his attorney, Joseph Correnti, he proposed that the neighbors allow him to open the station. In return, Sidiropoulos would sign an agreement that he would fix the drainage problems the new station appears to have caused neighboring properties and replace the trees that acted as a buffer between the neighbors on Buffum Street and the station.

The neighbors said no.

“The man is totally unreliable. He makes promises, but nothing gets done,” “He has done the same thing all over New Hampshire and Massachusetts.”

At that time, DeSantis said the neighbors want all the work done before they agree to drop their complaints to the city.

john February 24, 2012 at 11:55 PM
This isn't the first time the city has let a developer go way too far and before stopping them ,leaving neighbors living with the mess. If that project had been monitored properly from day 1,this situation would not exist
Rick B February 25, 2012 at 12:39 PM
He could have re-planted a mature forest back there by now with the cost he must be losing from the station just sitting there. Re-plant and move on.
ACG February 25, 2012 at 07:09 PM
My concern now is that there has been a lot of heavy, very heavy equipment operating on the portion of the site where the gas tanks are buried. Then there was that massive pile of dirt/stone over the tanks. I am not sure that the tanks or the concrete pads above them are built to handle that kind of weight. I even noticed some cracking and low spots in the concrete above the tanks as a result. In addition to the site contractors heavy equipment, the Salem water dept's contractor that was doing all the work on North St. was using the station as a staging area for all their heavy equipment. Will an engineer of some sort be brought in to determine if the tanks are still safe to fill?
john February 25, 2012 at 08:13 PM
That would be up to the city to require he do that. So far the city hasn't done much right.
chester suchecki April 18, 2012 at 02:50 PM
the guy is a snake and should be treated as one. the trees must go in and make sure the drainage system works before signing off. on paper from an engineer does not cut it, we havent had enough rain to water a gerainium never mind flood a back yard . the dranage system should be tested first or if said systemfails at any time the station gets shut down until its fixed .

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