Project stalls after pollution found

STONYBROOK—Over a year after it was first proposed, a mixed-use development on Washington Street has been stalled since November, following the discovery of hazardous chemicals on the site.

Stonybrook Neighborhood Association member Fred Vetterlein, who has been part of the community team advising the developers of the project since it was first proposed, told the Gazette the delay is due to a disagreement over price following the discovery of environmental issues.

Though the developer would not clarify on the record the reason behind the extended delay, state records show contaminated soil and groundwater.

“We are not able to proceed at this time even though we are very interested in developing the parcel,” said Harry Collins, consultant for the developers. “The project is on hold. The owner will not let us say any more.”

The project proposed for the former Flanagan & Seaton Motor Car Company location at 3521-3529 Washington St. calls for a 4-story self-storage facility, a two-story retail building fronting Washington Street and multifamily housing fronting Burnett Street.

According to the state Department of Environmental Protection (MassDEP), the parcel has contaminated soil and groundwater.

As listed on the MassDEP website, 15 hazardous chemicals, including arsenic and various solvents, were discovered on the site last October. That is not a new spill, but leftovers from the site’s previous use as a car lot.

The owners of the site, the Sullivan family, have a year from MassDEP’s notification to clean up the parcel or to file a plan to address the cleanup, MassDEP spokesperson Ed Coletta told the Gazette.

Coletta was not immediately available to comment on whether the chemicals are dangerous to surrounding residents.

Gazette phone calls to the owner, John Sullivan, and his lawyer Howard Speicher, were not returned.

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