|Buttonwood residents have been living
with the expressway and industry in their backyards for many
years. As viewed from their backyards, there have been three
The current issue stems from a month-to-month lease agreement made by
NStar with ATS Equipment in October or November 2010. The lease
allows ATS to expand its operations to make use of the land that was
surrounding the substation. The agreement with NStar is that ATS
would make sure there were no issues with the abutters before any use
of the land occurred.
- To the left and somewhat hidden behind trees and one
very tall fence is ATS Equipment which stores/moves large pieces of
construction equipment. Note: Prior to ATS was Olde
Bostonian, later moving to Von Hillern St. They were quiet and
never created problems (according to one of the abutters)
- Directly behind them was always Boston Edison which
became NStar. This property consisted of an open flat gravel yard
with an electrical substation (transformer) in the center of that
property. For the most part this "industrial" use was quiet and
benign - no day-to-day impact on the abutters.
- To the right is the Bricklayers union building where
place. This building also had no impact on the Buttonwood
ATS NEVER contacted the abutters, either before or after they signed the lease with NStar.
ATS (Steve Connolly) did contact the McCormack Association Executive
Board (E-Board) who then set up a meeting (after the lease was in
effect) where Steve spoke for ATS and the abutters learned how ATS
would be using the NStar land.
Starting in November and running for several meetings including the
monthly association meetings, the issue was discussed with the abutters
presenting their position and with ATS (Steve Connolly) maintaining his
rights (based on zoning). As of the
February 15, 2011 meeting, all parties were still at odds.
NStar yard prior to leasing use to ATS - clean and neat
like a small park. Transformer is to the far right.
Dramatic change after ATS started moving its equipment in.
The site no longer looks like a park.
The amount of equipment being stored has grown.
View from one of Ed MacDonald's neighbor's backyard.
View from Ed MacDonald's kitchen window.
Poolside view of ATS machinery
Closeup view of construction equipment - poolside
More views of large construction equipment
Looking closeup at the same equipment.
|The company ATS Equipment, Inc is
located at 33 Locust St in Dorchester
and is registered with the Secretary of State's office as a
corportation. ATS Equipment is associated with a total of four
organizations registered with the Commonwealth:
- ATS Equipment of Auburn, Inc
- ATS Equipment of New Hampshire, Inc
- ATS Equipment Trust
- ATS Equipment, Inc
|According to the Secretary of State's
Registry of Deeds, the land now used by ATS was acquired by the Locust
Street Trust and leased to ATS. However, the parties are all the
same (the "Connolly's") with legal entities and relationships formally
separated via trusts and corporations.
||Edward Seferian of
Dorchester sold land to John N. Connolly, Trustee of the Locust Street
Realty Trust. Note: This appears to be the same as 33
|John N. Connolly,
Trustee of the Locust Streeet Realty Trust executed a lease with ATS
Eqipment, Inc for 20 years commencing 4/1/1995. Note that John N.
Connolly is President of the ATS Equipment, Inc corporation. This
was recorded on 8/29/1995.
|According to BRA maps, the land in
back of the Buttonwood homes is zoned "LI". This is indicated on
Dorchester zoning map, a piece of which is shown below.
The zoning appears to be "LI" which we assume means "light
industrial." This is the term that Steve Connolly used at the
McCormack Neighborhood Association on 2/15/11.
The Boston Zoning Code and Enabling Act is a complete
page of all documents associated with the zoning code.
Article 36 is entitled Light Manufacturing District (LM) which, we
assume, is the replacement for "LI" or "light industrial."
One of the allowed uses under Light Manufacturing is:
Construction equipment and products.
Article 12 covers Transitional Zoning. It
states the following:
SECTION 12-3. Lots in Business or Industrial Districts Adjacent to
Residential District. Where a lot in a business or industrial district
abuts a lot in a residential district, the lot in the business or
industrial district shall have along each line abutting a residential
district a yard equal in width or depth to that required in the
Where land on one side of a street between two
intersecting streets is zoned partly as residential and partly as
business or industrial, the front yard depth in so much of the business
or industrial district as lies within one hundred feet (measured along
the street line) from the boundary line dividing the two districts
shall be equal to the front yard depth required by this code in the S,
R or H district.
;As amended on August 30, 1988, February 1, 1989, and April 27, 1990 ARTICLE 12
|Ed MacDonald (111 Buttonwood)
summarized the chronology of dealing with ATS spokesperson Steve Connolly.
on comments made by the NStar representative at the 2/15/11 McCormack
neighborhood association, Ed understands that NStar placed the onus on
ATS to make sure there were no issues with the abutters BEFORE
entering into the lease agreement.
- However, ATS signed the lease agreement with NStar,
then went to the E-Board (hereinafter meaning Executive Board,
McCormack Assn). Abutters were asked to attend this first meeting with
the E-Board and ATS. No understanding was
reached. The abutters do not want to look out from their backyard
and see ATS equipment (period). They do not want the increased noise and diesel fumes.
Note: NStar land previously was a substation
is a single building and flat land covered with gravel - no equipment. (See
a week or two after the second meeting, ATS
had put a fence around the transformer. It would appear that ATS
is assuming they will prevail in using the land according to its
zoning status regardless of what the abutters think.
meetings were held with no agreement except for a few concessions such
as privacy mesh and mature trees (evergreens) to obscure
trees have been planted due to time of year.
- At the February 15, 2011 meeting, all of
the abutters were very angry, some showing their anger hotly and others
less so. In response to the abutters, Steve Connolly's only comment
was that he could use the land according to how it is zoned
- The neighborhood association took a vote of the paid
members on a motion to write a letter to NStar to withdraw the lease
from ATS. It passed 14-2.
|Mike O'Connor (121 Buttonwood) says
that around 2003 ATS began moving heavier equipment into their yard and
running the equipment longer. He knows for sure that it's
generating more pollution. He has a pool which he used to clean it
only once a month. Since then he has had to clean the pool more
frequently. Ed states that every time ATS starts up
a piece of equipment, it belches out a big plume of black smoke. They also let
the equipment run idle for 10 minutes or more as a warm-up period.
are six abutters and five are homeowners. There is also a seventh
home adjacent but not abuttig. Two of the families (Vietnamese)
raise vegetables in their backyards. With the proximity of the ATS
large equipment activity, it is clear that the soil and the growing
vegetables are getting covered with the fine particulate matter
by the diesel equipment
|One additional issue was raised by Mike O'Connor, abutter and fire fighter. The electrical substation
is still active and could catch fire. That has happened 2-3 times
in the past and NStar employees were injured. While getting into the
yard where the transformer is located has not changed, with the compressors packed into the
yard, this is a potential fire hazard.
Mike wonders if
the Fire Department has approved of how equipment is being stored on
the NStar land.