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Mayor to ask for rezoning of former Lunt property

  • The town recently purchased the 6.6 acres that contain three baseball fields at the former Lunt Silversmiths property and in the spring expects to take the old factory portion of the property with a “friendly” tax taking, said Greenfield Mayor William Martin.<br/>(Recorder file photo)<br/>

    The town recently purchased the 6.6 acres that contain three baseball fields at the former Lunt Silversmiths property and in the spring expects to take the old factory portion of the property with a “friendly” tax taking, said Greenfield Mayor William Martin.
    (Recorder file photo)
    Purchase photo reprints »

  • Greenfield Mayor William Martin said he has heard rumors that there may be a buyer for the former retail store building, which is currently in Bankruptcy Court.<br/>(Recorder file photo)

    Greenfield Mayor William Martin said he has heard rumors that there may be a buyer for the former retail store building, which is currently in Bankruptcy Court.
    (Recorder file photo) Purchase photo reprints »

  • The town recently purchased the 6.6 acres that contain three baseball fields at the former Lunt Silversmiths property and in the spring expects to take the old factory portion of the property with a “friendly” tax taking, said Greenfield Mayor William Martin.<br/>(Recorder file photo)<br/>
  • Greenfield Mayor William Martin said he has heard rumors that there may be a buyer for the former retail store building, which is currently in Bankruptcy Court.<br/>(Recorder file photo)

GREENFIELD — The mayor plans to ask Town Council to rezone the former Lunt Silversmith property on Federal Street from general industrial to limited commercial-urban residential, which would be consistent with the surrounding area.

Mayor William Martin said rezoning the property will protect it and its neighbors.

“Rezoning would mean that whatever ends up going there will fit into the neighborhood better than what could end up there if we left it as is,” said Martin.

According to the town’s zoning laws, everything from manufacturing to trucking to a warehouse or contractor’s yard could be built in a general industrial zone.

The town recently purchased the 6.6 acres that contain three baseball fields and in the spring expects to take the old factory portion of the property with a “friendly” tax taking, said Martin.

He said the town will then work with state and federal environmental agencies to get the property cleaned up and then will market that piece in hopes of putting it back on Greenfield’s tax rolls.

Martin said he has heard rumors that there may be a buyer for the former retail store building, which is currently in bankruptcy court.

Owner James Lunt said there has been a good deal of interest in the property, but would not confirm Martin’s claim.

“I think it’s a good idea to look at the entire block for rezoning,” said Lunt. “That’s what should happen. I’m highly in favor of it.”

Greenfield Economic Development Director Robert Pyers said bankruptcy lawyers were not always in favor of rezoning the property, but said it appears they have changed their minds, which is a good thing for Greenfield.

Pyers and Lunt said they believe it will be better for the entire town if the property is zoned limited commercial-urban residential.

The town recently bought the ballfields for $660,000. Town officials said they plan to keep that 6.6 acres as recreational for as far into the future as they can see.

Martin has said he would eventually like the fields to become a “mini Fenway” or a recreational complex.

Pyers said there has also been some interest in the former factory, but the town would like to know what it is dealing with in terms of contamination first.

The town knows that some groundwater contamination has moved off the property, but state and federal environmental agencies are monitoring how much there is and how far it has traveled.

So far, those agencies have reported that off-site contamination is negligible.

Pyers has said in past interviews that most of the contamination is sitting below the old factory.

If Town Council agrees to rezone the entire property, the contamination would have to be cleaned up, because another factory or manufacturer would not be coming in behind Lunt, town officials have said.

Town Council will meet Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. in the studio in Greenfield Community Television, 393 Main St. It is not yet clear whether the council will discuss, or possibly vote on, the zoning change during that meeting.

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