EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Merrimack Valley

July 11, 2013

Royal Crest moves ahead with drainage project

NORTH ANDOVER — The spirit of compromise prevailed before the Conservation Commission last night.

Aimco, the Denver corporation that owns the Royal Crest Apartments on Route 114, is seeking the commission’s approval for a massive drainage improvement plan at the complex, which has had serious water problems in recent years.

Lisa Eggleston, an engineer who reviews stormwater management plans for the Conservation Commission, gave the OK for Aimco’s plan, according to Kenneth Lania of Cornerstone Lane Consultants, who designed the system. As of last night, however, Conservation Administrator Jennifer Hughes said she had not received notice from Eggleston saying Aimco’s plan was acceptable.

Lania asked the commission to release the $37,000 bond Aimco had submitted to guarantee the completion of the improvements.

Commission Chairman Louis Napoli said that while Lania has done a “great job” in preparing the drainage plans, the board could not issue a certificate of compliance without Eggleston’s peer review.

“We rely on her,” commission member Albert Manzi Jr. explained. He said the board could not certify compliance without a positive opinion from Eggleston.

Lania said Aimco needed to have the $37,000 bond released to get started on the work. The corporation has very tight financial controls, he said.

Manzi pointed out the commission is authorized to approve partial releases of bonds. He proposed that the board release half of the bond, $18,500.

That motion passed on a 3-1 vote, with Deborah Feltovic, Douglas Saal and Manzi supporting the release of the $18,500 and Napoli opposed.

Lania said Aimco is committed to a five-year plan to improve the drainage and foundations of the apartment complex, which was built slightly more than 40 years ago.

The goal, he said, is to keep the basements dry and make sure the apartments “stay habitable.”

He noted the property, located near wetlands, has been plagued by “an overabundance of water.” Napoli said Royal Crest’s present drainage system, built more than 40 years ago, is not adequate.

Aimco, one of the country’s largest owners of apartment buildings, is expected to appear before the commission July 24 to request a certificate of compliance — and the remaining $18,500 bond.

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