WILMINGTON, MA — Articles 62 and 63 of the 2021 Annual Town Meeting Warrant asks voters to amend the town’s Zoning Bylaws to allow for the relocation of the Nichols Funeral Home to across the street from its current location.
Owner Margaret McKenna is looking to move her funeral home across the street, from 187 Middlesex Avenue to 168-172 Middlesex Avenue. The proposed site was actually previously home to McMahon’s Funeral Home for 54 years, until it closed in the late 1970’s.
“The owner would be moving her funeral home approximately 300 feet,” explained Attorney Robert Peterson Sr. at the recent Wilmington Finance Committee-Planning Board Public Hearing. “She would raze the existing building. A new funeral home would be constructed son that site, which provides significant advantages over the existing site. There is substantially more parking… Most of the parking on her current site is done in the rear library parking lot. This move would allow her to have significant on-site parking.”
“Mrs. McKenna provides a tremendous service to the town,” added Peterson. “This parcel was used for over a half a century for a funeral home. Despite its current zoning classification, the relocation of the funeral home from its existing location to its proposed location would be beneficial to her business and to the town in general.”
Direct abutter Paul Melaragni (176 Middlesex Avenue) phoned in to the public hearing to speak in favor of the articles.
“This move would be a betterment to the community,” he said. “It’s an improvement to this area of town, compared to what’s been there for so many years.”
Article 62 would allow Funeral Homes in Residential 10 zones with a special permit from the Planning Board (it’s currently not allowed), whereas Article 63 would rezone the land in question from Residential 10 to Neighborhood Mixed Use, which allows for funeral homes. Voters are essentially being given two different options to accommodate the property owner’s desire to move across the street.
Peterson would prefer Article 62 be passed as he has concerns about Article 63 relative to the Attorney General Office’s potentially disallowing the change and considering the rezoning as “spot zoning.”
The Wilmington Finance Committee recommended the approval of Article 62, where the Wilmington Planning Board recommended disapproval.
Voters will vote on the rezoning at the 2021 Annual Town Meeting on Saturday, May 1, 2021 at 9am at the Shriners Auditorium (99 Fordham Road).
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