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Changes Vowed at Burned-out Building

Jon Winkler jwinkler@nashobavalleyvoice.comMay 20, 2019

TOWNSEND — Three months after his building caught fire, Ziad Ramadan is looking to start fresh.

The owner of many of the condos at Pine Ridge Estates on Fitchburg Road, one structure of said condos caught fire on the night of February 4 and displaced its 48 residents, displayed his plans to rebuild the structure during a public hearing in front of the Townsend Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday night. Ramadan was specifically looking for a special permit to demolish the remains of the building at Pine Ridge Estates and rebuild the legally pre-existing, non-conforming structure.

“With the building burnt down, I thought I’d have the opportunity to make a first-rate building,” Ramadan said at the meeting.

Ramadan said that the new building will be three-stories high compared to the four-and-a-half stories of what was the current structure. The building will have a total of 24 one-bedroom units and six two-bedroom units, with all units on the third floor having an open mezzanine. The one-bedroom units will have a total area of 960 square feet each.

Additional features were suggested by Ramadan to help improve the overall functionality of the property, including the installation of elevators to make it compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act and a wide parking lot that surrounds the building. He noted how this would allow emergency vehicles more room to park if another fire broke out. He also suggested cosmetic improvements to the building, including a greenery.

“You don’t know what people like until you have a disaster,” Ramadan said. “Seeing people who put up help for the displaced people was really something.”

Ramadan noted that the current building has to be demolished due to asbestos left in the structure. He added that demolition would take about two months and then construction could be completed within a year once he has proper approval.

Members of the ZBA seemed in favor of the proposal, with Chair William Cadogan noting that the new building would be “fairly better-looking” and that Ramadan would need a demolition permit first and then a building permit separately. Board member Robert Rebholz said it would be important for the Planning Board to take a more thorough look at the proposal.

“I think it can work even though the rents don’t fall under affordable housing,” Rebholz said. “It might afford people housing who want to stay in town. I like it.”

The ZBA moved to continue the public hearing for Wednesday, June 12 at 7 p.m.

Jon Winkler: jwinkler@nashobavalley voice.com

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