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33 Phillips Street

Time line
February 2014- Rental Permit issued
April22, 2014- Order to Correct issued for "unsafe porches, no handrails inside, broken windows, extremely
poor condition overall"
April29, 2014- Notice of Violation issued for smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire escape
maintenance, repairs to the second and third floor units, and exterior clean up of trash and furniture.
May 20, 2014- After an inspection of the entire building, the Town's Code Enforcement Officer issued a
Cease and Desist letter requiring that an unauthorized basement fourth unit be demolished or a Special Permit
sought to legalize the fourth unit. That order identified June 24, 2014 as a deadline to act.
May 21, 2014- Planning Department email identifying and outlining Special Permit process to formalize the
fourth unit (email attached).
May 29, 2014- Planning Department email to applicant identifying submission requirements, including floor
plans, survey, etc. (email attached).
June 18,2014- The Building Commissioner granted a 14 day extension on the order to allow the owner's
architect and surveyor to complete their work.
June 18, 2014- Planning Department emaltt<i'applicant regarding-extension and need for floor plans by
architect, existing and proposed survey including parking, management plan, etc. (email attached)
July 8, 2014- The application was received by Planning Department.
July 25, 2014- The applicant was notified via email requesting the following (email attached):
Updated floor plans showing the proposed egress, room dimensions and labels, fire escape and stamp
from an architect
An elevation prepared by an architect showing any exterior changes on the west fas;ade
Relocation of trash receptacles, how the parking area can be separated from the adjacent property, and
plan for delineation ofthe parking area
Clarification on the number of tenants as it relates to parking and whether tenants from the adjacent
property will park there.
More detailed information about the parking permit system
August I, 2014- Order to repair fire escape. 45 day deadline established for completion.
August 7, 2014 (approx) -A revised/updated survey is submitted.
August 26, 2014- Nuisance Violation issued for mattress on side porch; Revised/updated floor plans prepared
by the architect were submitted.
August 26, 2014- The applicant was notified via email that (email attached):
The floor plans for the basement did not show enough detail with regard to room dimensions and
labeling of existing versus proposed conditions.
An elevation prepared by an architect showing the exterior change for the new egress door is required.
The survey will need to show existing topography and proposed changes to grade, including
information about whether a retaining wall is required and the location of a walkway to the new egress
door.
August 28, 2014- Notice to Abate issued for "couch in front yard, trash cans blocking sidewalk, trash on the
ground"

33 Phillips Street
Timeline
September 8, 2014- The applicant was provided, via email, with a copy of the Fire Department Review letter
(email attached).
September 24, 2014- ZBA conducts site visit
September 25, 2014- Original date offrrst hearing. Continued/rescheduled to October 2, 2014 to observe
religious holiday
October 2, 2014- Initial ZBA hearing
October 31, 2014 - Plarrning Department email to applicant containing detailed list/review of site plan dated
October 29, 2014 with wetland flagging (email attached).
November 5, 2014- Conference call (Plarrning Department, applicant, attorney) to discuss need for
Conservation Commission

November 6, 2014- Plarrning Department email containing Conservation Commission timeline, notation Of
the need for an engineer, and responses to request for continuation (email attached)
November 6, 2014- Second ZBA hearing. Board does not take testimony votes'to continue to January
29, 2015 as per applicant's request for more time.

...
December 19, 2014 - Plarrning Department email to applicant and attorney containing Conservation
Commission application and timeline review (email attached).
-~

January 13, 2015- Planning Department email to applicant noting no contact since November 6, 2014.
Request for both to attend January 29, 2015 hearing (email attached).
January 29, 2015- Third ZBA hearing. Board votes to continue to June 11, 2015 to allow time for
applicant to prepare more detailed plans, submit application and obtain approval from Conservation
Commission by June 11, 2015. The Board clearly stated potential denial if everything is not prepared
February 25, 2015 - Plarrning Department email to applicant asking for progress, recommended meeting with
surveyor and attorney (email attached).
March 31, 2015- Plarrning Department email noting 30 days since last email. IdentifY importance oftimeline
for wetland consultant, surveyor and engineer. Recommended meeting with surveyor and attorney to review
(email attached)
April15, 2015- attorney emails Plarrning Department. Proposes potential solution and/or possible request to
withdraw without prejudice
April 17, 2015 - Plarrning Department email proposing meeting to discuss. Email notes importance of project
and potential loss of units (email attached).
April24, 2015- Conference call scheduled but cancelled due to Planning staff illness
May 1, 2015- Conference calf with applicant, attorney, Building Commissioner, Plarrning staff, and Wetland
Administrator. Reviewed need for civil engineer io prepare grading and drainage plan for the parking area for
both Conservation Commission and ZBA application. Discussed timeline for submitting information and
Conservation Commission schedule
May 4, 2015- Plarrning Department email to applicant and attorney containing detailed summary of
conference call (email attached).
May 8, 2015- Plarrning Department to applicant email hoting no response.

33 Phillips Street

Timeline
May 15, 2015- Applicant email to Planning Department referencing contact with a civil engineer
May 18, 2015 -ln person meeting with applicant, realtor, Building Commissioner, Planning staff, Building
Commissioner, and Wetland Administrator. Discussed importance for engineered plans and extremely short
timeline for completion. Applicant states commitment to move forward with preparation of plans, wetland
consultant, and civil engineer.
May 28, 2015 -Email from surveyor stating request for more time to complete Environmental Studies.
June 3, 2015 -Planning Department email to surveyor and applicant to clarify status, pr()gress, and potential
for denial (email attached)
June 1I, 2015- Email fr9m applicant stating s9me work being completed by surveyor (email attached)

.June 11, 2015- Fourth ZBA hearing.

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___

TOWN HALL
4 Boltwood Avenue
Amherst, MA 01002-2351

INSPECTION SERVICES DEPARTMENT


Phone (413) 259-3030. Fax (413)259-2402
Email: inspections@amherstma.gov

CEASE AND DESIST


Certified Mail and Email

May 20,2014

Stephan Gharabegian
Knight Properties, LLC.
405 Waltham St. #396
Lexington, MA 02421
Dear Mr. Gharabegian,

..
During my inspection of your property at 33 Phillips Street on May 15, 2014 you showed ine
through the entire house, including first, second, and third floor apartments, and a four bedroom

apartment in the basement which I had not previously seen.


My review of the Town of Amherst assessor's records indicate that this is a three family building.
Creation of the fourth unit required a special permit from the Zoning Board of Appeals, as there is
no record of a special permit or even a building permit to create the additional apartment I hereby
order you to cease use of the unit and remove the basement apartment.
Your attention is directed to Town of Amherst Zoning Bylaw (ZBL), Section 11.45 which
provides that any violation may be enforced, by the Building Commissioner, by non-criminal
complaint pursuant to the provisions of General Laws, Chapter 40, Section 21D. The fine for any
violation disposed of through this procedure shall be one hundred dollars ($100.00) for each
offense. Each day such violation continues shall be deemed a separate offense.

If you feel aggrieved by said decision or, any officer or Board of the Town, may within 30 days
appeal to the Board of Appeals.
A demolition permit must be obtained before work can begin, and all demolition must be
complete and inspected by Inspection Services by June 24,2014.
Sincerely,

5~
Jon Thompson
Town of Amherst
Building Inspector
Code Enforcement Officer
413-259-3117
Thompsonj@arnherstrna.gov

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Subject:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Wednesday, May 21, 2014 12:58 PM
sgharabe@gmail.com
33 Phillips Street- Amherst ZBA

Dear Mr. Gharabegian,


Please consider this email as an initial response to your phone call from yesterday. I understand that you may
be inquiring about the process to formalize/legalize an additional unit at 33 Phillips Street (to increase from
three units to four units).
The process would be a Special Permit fi:om the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to alter and extend a nonconforming use and building. The Special Permit process, in general, requires:

A complete application and fee (approximately $3 7 5)


Notification to abutters within 300 feet
A public hearing, and
.
A uri~linous vote of the three person Zoiiing Board Appeais: .

of

In terms of application materials, it would need to consist of a set of floor plans for the entire dwelling prepared
by a licensed architect. Additionally, an existing conditions survey/site plan prepared by a licensed engineer,
surveyor, or landscape architect would be required. Finally, a Management Plan (which outlines the
management and use of the building) would be required. These documents would be the basis for an
application.

A copy of the application form is here: http://www.amherstrna.gov/DocumentCenterNiew/25343


A copy of the ZBA rules and regulations are here:
http://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenterNiew/25561

The process can take 2-3 months (or more in some cases) to complete and is considered a "discretionary"
approval process meaning that a permit can be issued with conditions, or in some cases denied.
There are some other items that would need to be addressed, but this is an overview. I recommend to all
applicants that a meeting with Town staff occur should you choose to move forward with an application.
Please let me know if you'd like to arrange a meeting.
Sincerely,
JeffBagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
413-259-3187
baggj@amherstma.gov

Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject:

FW: 33 Phillips Street -Amherst ZBA

from: Bagg, Jeffrey


Sent: Thursday, May 29, 2014 3:14 PM
To: Stephan
Subject: RE: 33 Phillips Street- Amherst ZBA
Dear Mr. Gharabegian,
As I mentioned, this is a summary email of some of the important points from our meeting today with Jon Thompson
and Terry Avery.
We identified thatthere appear to be two options:
1. Take the necessary steps to make an application to the Zoning Boa.rd of Appeals for approval of the addition of
the fourth basement unit; or
2. To applyfora demolition permit to remove the unit and building permit to complete the work.
You asked iftherewas a third optioninvolving the removal ofthe unit by making It finished space: You suggested two
final uses of finished space could be either 1) for the tenants, such as a living room, or 2) for your storage purposes. We
explained that use of the space by tenants would need to be connected to one of the units via some type of internal
connection such that tenants of a unit would not be required to walk out of the building, down the driveway in order to
enter an extra room associated with a unit In terms of storage for your use, it seemed plausible following the steps of
#2 above but would require detailed information about how it would be used. There was an outstanding question
whether this would change the use in terms of zoning. You stated that you pain to move forward with trying for 4 units
and considering this if the request was denied.
Special Permit process and application materials {I gave you a copy of the application and ZBA rules and regulations):
Floor plan for each unit -I explained that they would need to be prepared by an architect. The plans should
encompass the entire building as the ZBA would be required to consider the whole use of the building. The
plans for the basement should include existing and proposed plans showing any changes or upgrades
necessary. The question of whether the unit has two means of egress was noted. You mentioned that there is a
door and a sliding glass door next to one another. The architect would need to review this and determine if it
meets the building code.
Existing conditions survey- It was noted that the surveyor should be asked to prepare an existing conditions
survey based on the requirements in the Special Permit application. The surveyor would also likely also need to
draw a proposed parking configuration include number and size of parking spaces.
Wetland consultant. Albeit towards the end of our discussion, it was identified that there may be wetlands at
the rear of the property. Even in the "do nothing" approach to the parking area, the location of any wetlands
should be identified. I noted that it would be unlikely that the existing conditions of the parking area would be
sufficient and that an upgrade or change to the parking would require the wetland information to determine the
distances of any wetland to any change.
You asked what the likelihood of approval was and whether members of the public would come. I explained that the
neighborhood has owners that pay attention to these types of applications and communicate and would likely come to
express any issues or concerns. Those issues and concerns would have to be heard by the ZBA members and considered
as they may relate to the application. You mentioned that the basement unit had been used for years and that nothing
1

was really changing. I stated that if the proposal can be seen as an improvement (in terms of parking or management of
the property) those may be seen as positive aspects of the application.
We discussed the time line and the Special Permit application. We stated that if a complete application to the ZBA was
not submitted prior to June 25'", you'd be susceptible to daily fines under the current enforcement action. You stated
that you intended to proceed and that you had contacted surveyors but they had not called you back and that you had
an architect in Boston that you were trying to have come out. We expressed the importance of taking the timeline
seriously.
We discussed parking. I noted that there was a high likelihood that the parking surface would need to be upgraded. You
noted that you had thought about paving it anyway. I explained that for any parking with 5 or more spaces, there is a
process, so it's recommended that no activity occur without talking to the town. I mentioned the possibility of there
being a requirement for lighting, given the distance of some of the parking from the building. We talked about numbers
of parking spaces. You noted that units 1, 2, and 3 are all four bedrooms and that the basement might be two bedrooms
with a total of four tenants. I explained that the Zoning Bylaw requires a minimum of 2 per unit but that the ZBA would
likely discuss parking for each tenant. You noted that the property to the west doesn't have parking and you own it with
those tenants parking behind this building. You mentioned that the property to the east is owned by Eaglecrest and that
you believe they park back there. I noted that the requirements for parking are found in the Zoning Bylaw and should be
considered when working with the surveyor. Here is a link to Article 7 which deals with parking:
http://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/26082
You mentioned wanted to implement-a-parking permit system due to the number of people who park there that are not
tenants. I noted that. this would be information that would be included in the Management Plan.
We discussed the Management Plan requirements including trash storage and maintenance of the landscaping and
should contain a description of whatever your property management company is responsible for.
Please contact me if you feel any of this is inac.curate- or if you have any questions.
Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
413-259-3187
baggj@amherstma.gov

iI

Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject:

FW: 33 Phillips Street -Amherst ZBA

From: Bagg, Jeffrey


Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 2014 3:14PM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject: RE: 33 Phillips Street- AmherstZBA'

Dear Mr. Gharabegian,


I got your email. Before you travel here to submit the application, please note that without architectural plans and a
survey the application will not be deemed complete. The submission of an application form and fee alone will not be
sufficient. I discussed your email with the Building Commissioner and he agreed to consider giving you a 14 day
extension on the deadline to act (which was June 24, 2014 pursuant to Mr. Thompson's enforcement letter).
Please acknowledge the receipt of this email and that you understand that a two week extension to comply may be
available. However, -failure to comply with this through the submission of a complete application will .result in
enforcement action. For clarification, it will not be sufficient to indicate in two weeks that local professionals are
'booked and a Boston architect will be more expensive, ther~fore you require more time. 'This is an important deadline' where f.ailure to comply will result in daily fines.
Here is summary ofthe minimum required to constitute a complete application (which was listed in the summary email
below and described in our meeting):

Floor Plans, prepared by a Massachusetts Licensed Architect showing the existing and proposed configuration of
all units
Existing and proposed conditions survey, prepared by a Massachusetts Licensed Surveyor, Engineer, or
Landscape Architect showing existing and proposed conditions, including parking
Management Plan, with all necessary information as listed in the ZBA Rules and Regulations including lease
agreement, complaint response plan, landscape maintenance, etc.

In t<;!rms of your question about the ZBA versus the Planning Board, the property is located in the General Residence
Zoning District where any rental unit greater a single family dwelling requires a Special Permit. Your property is preexisting and non-conforming with three units and to add a fourth unit'is regulated by a Special Permit from the Zoning
Board of Appea Is.
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
413-259-3187
baggj@amherstma.gov
From: Stephan [mailto:sgharabe@gmail.com]

Sent: Wednesday, June 18, 201410:00 AM


To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject: Re: 33 Phillips Street- Amherst ZBA

Good Morning Jeff,

I have a question, why is this matter going to the ZBA and not the planning board. The house is a multi-family
house and is in a multi family zoned area. Does a 4 family need a different zoning than a 3 family?
I am going to file the application tomorrow. Still having a hell of a tiine with survivors and architects. My
Boston one wants an extra $1000 because he has to drive to Amherst. My surveyor wont even consider going
out to Anilierst. Everyone in Western Mass is booked solid for 2 months. But I am still working on it. I am
hopeful that Bean D L out of Westfield can expedite the process.

Thank you,
Stephan
617-821-4476
sqharabe@qmail. com

...

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Cc:
Subject:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Friday, July 25, 2014 12:14 PM
sgharabe@gmail.com
Morra, Robert
33 Phillips ZBA

Dear Stephan,
Monday will mark three weeks since you submitted the Special Permit application, survey and floor plans. At that time
we discussed with you a variety additions needed, including but not limited to:
1- revised floor plans showing proposed egress.
2 -floor plans drawn to scale with room dimensions and room labels
3- plans must be stamped by the architect
4- for any side of the building with an exterior change, such as if a new door was installed on the west side, an elevation
is needed.
5 -the plan was to show the fire escapes.
'-

Survey:
1 -Confirmation of parking. The plan showed additional spaces proposed which you indicated you do not want to do.
2 -clarification of the patio/fence area around space 1

3 -relocation of the trash receptacles


4- consideration as to how the parking area can be separated from the adjacent Eaglecrest property and some proposal
to delineate the gravel from other landscaped areas.
5- clarification on the number of tenants as it relates to parking; and clarification as to whether tenants in your adjacent
property will park there.
Management: key issue was related to how you would monitor parking, including more information about your parking
permit system.
This was all discussed and I believe we all left with these expectations. I will be filing the permit with the Town Clerk on
Tuesday and it will become public. It's critical that this updated information is submitted as soon as possible.
Fiinally, I believe we talked about needing PDFs of the plans.
I'd like to establish a deadline for this information as Friday, August 1st since we discussed the need for this information
three weeks ago.
I have the hearing scheduled for September 25th.
Please contact me with any questions.
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Sent from my iPhone, please excuse typos.

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:

To:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Tuesday, August 26, 2014 2:16 PM
Stephan
RE: 33 Phillips Street, Amherst, MA. 01002
33 PHILUPS STREET EXISTING PLANS complete.pdf

Dear Stephan,
Thank you for the updated floor plans. I quickly reviewed them with the Building Commissioner. We have determined
that plans for the "fourth" unit in the basement do not show enough detail by the architect. This unit is to be
considered under today's building code so there will be some additional information required from the architect. In
addition to that information, you have not provided an elevation of the west side where the new egress door is
proposed. You will need to provide the elevation from the architect. As previously noted, a single clear photograph
showing all the other sides of the building may be sufficient since there are no changes.
Finally, related to the new egress door, the survey does not show any change. From my understanding of the property,
some type of change to the site (such as a retaining wall) and walkway appear to be required in order to get from the
parking area to the new door. That information willultimately be needed in order for the Board to make a final
decision.
Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
baggj@amherstma.gov

From: Stephan [mailto:sgharabe@gmail.com]


Sent: Tuesday, August 26, 2014 7:29AM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject: :33 Phillips Street, Amherst, MA. 01002

Hello Jeff,
Here is the stamped final plans for 33. Phillips Street. I'll bring you hard copies tomorrow.

Thank you,
Stephan
617-821-4476
sqharabe@qmail. com

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:.
Sent:
To:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey .
Monday, September 08, 2014 11:23 AM
Stephan
FW: 33 Phillips Street
33 Phillips.docx; ATTOOOOl.htm; RE: 33 Phillips Street, Amherst, MA. 01002

Dear Stephan,
Attached please find the review by the Amherst Fire Department of the ZBA application for 33 Phillips Street. As you will
see, they are requiring that the building be upgraded with a sprinkler system. It will be very important that you (with
your architect) determine what will be involved in making this upgrade both internally and externally on the property.
The ZBA process is such that they will receive this letter and will likely make this a requirement of the Special Permitand this upgrade would be required to be completed before occupancy of the fourth unit.
I should also note that I've previously identified the need for the architect to provide a proposed elevation for the west
side; photographs of each other side for existing condition elevat(ons; and the need for the surveyor to show the
proposed new door location and access including walkway and confirmation of whether a retaining wall is required next
to the door.
Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

Begin forwarded message:


From: "McKay, Donald" <McKayD@amherstma.gov>
Date: September 5, 2014 at 5:20:16 PM EDT
To: "Bagg, Jeffrey" <baggj@amherstma.gov>, "Britt, Lindsey'' <brittl@amherstma.gov>
Cc: "Nelson, Tim" <nelsonw@amherstma.gov>, "Roy, Michael" <roym@amherstma.gov>
Subject: 33 Phillips Street
Jeff,
Attached you should find the Fire Department comments on the application for a special permit for 33
Phillip~ Street.
Don
Assistant Chief Don.ald R. McKay, EMT-P, MPH
Amherst Fire Department
Amherst, MA 01002
(413) 259-3130

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Friday, October 31, 2014 4:32 PM
Mehdi Rahmani; Stephan
Morra, Robert
RE: 33 Phillips Street
ART7.pdf; Ting - 164 Sunset -Site Plans.pdf; Plot Plan Checklist. pdf; 33 phillips, October
29.PDF; RENDERED SITE PLAN 2014-10-29.jpg; ELEVATION new basement entry
2014-10-29Jpg

Hi Mehdi and Stephan,


Unfortunately, the Jist is pretty long and complex. I ran out of time today, so please consider this is a preliminary list. I
understand that effort was made on the wetland delineation- which is good. However, that was only one component of
the requested items. In my professional opinion, I believe that you will need to work with a civil engineer to better
analyze and design the parking area .. Even if the surveyor updates the plans with more information, both the
Conservation Commission and the ZBA will require il more detailed plan of how the parking area will get constructed and
how topography and drainage will be handled. This is typically work done by an engineer.
- -' . - - - - . _.,
-- ---~-- , .... . - ' - - - -~ .- --
Please note that while the new site plan shows the wetland flags and a 50 foot buffer, the Wetland Regulations are such
that any significant changes to the site (which there would be) within 100 feet of the wetland are subject to review by
the Conservation Commission. The Conservation Commission would require information on topography, drainage, and
removal of vegetation as part oft hat process.
Here is a preliminary Jist. We should discuss these:

The site plan needs to show the topography and proposed changes in the vicinity of the new egress door.

The site plan needs to show the topography at tlie rear of the property, especially in the proximity of space
#13. The space #12 and #13 are essentially in overgrown shrub areas and based on the measurements taken at
the site visit would require removal of a tree or trees larger than 8 inches in diameter. At the site visit there was
a question about the feasibility of parking space #12 as it was close to the embankment.

The site plan does not appear to accurately show the location of "tree and brush line" on the west property
line. That area was extensively cleared and is no longer accurate.

The site plan stiH does not distinguish between existing and proposed conditions. Based on the site visit and
discussion by the Board the existing parking area will not meet the design requirements of Section 7.101. The
expanded areas are not labeled as proposed.

The existing and proposed Jot coverage's are not calculated. The new survey contains the same lot coverage
numbers as the previous plan despite the addition of spaces.

The site plan no longer shows the proposed fence.

The site plan does not identify any proposal to delineate the overall parking area and does not address how each
space will be delineated.

The site plan does not contain any information about lighting in the parking area.

The site plan does not accurately show the fence area at the rear of the building or wood landing.

The site plan does not provide any information about re-paving the blacktop portion of the driveway.

Trash storage is not shown

Other issues:
The architects plan of the building, while visually pleasing, is not a true elevation. It doesn't contain any scale,
dimensions, or measurable information about the location of the door. The plan shows a retaining wall, landing,
and changes to grade all of which will require more detailed information and measurements.
I didn't have time to go over the information in detail. Attached is Article 7 of the Zoning Bylaw which relates to
parking. I've highlighted many ofthe issues that need to be addressed. However, I'm not sure that the surveyor (unless
they can provide engineering information) will be able to provide enough of the required information. I've also attached
an example of a similar project going before the ZBA and the type of plan and detail submitted.
Also, attached is a standard "plot plan" checklist for reference. Finally, the ZBA application form (page 2 and 3) contains
the typical requirements of "site plans" and "elevations": http://www.amherstma.gov/DocumentCenter/View/25343
Let's schedule a time' to conference call on Monday if possible.
Thanks,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
baggj@amherstma.gov

-----------------

From: Mehdi Rahmani [mailto:mr@vazirlaw.com]

Sent: Friday, October 31, 2014 12:21 PM


To: Bagg, Jeffrey

Cc: Stephan
Subject: 33 Phillips Street
Hi Jeff,
Good to see you last night. Let me know if you will be able to provide a list of the discrepancies or missing pieces you
touched on last night concerning 33 Phillips. Thank you again for your attention on this matter.
All the best,
Mehdi
Mehdi Rahmani I Principal
Vazir Law and Sports Management
800 Boylston Street. 16'h Floor I Boston
T: +1 617 207 4088 /M: +1 617 320 1606
DL: +1857 453 6542 /F: +1857 453 6501
mr@vazirlaw.com I www.vazirlaw.com
~ CONFIDENTIALITY NOTIC ~ The information (including any attachments) contained in this electronic communication is
privileged and confidential and intended only for' the use of the named addressee and is or may be protected by the attorney-client
privilege, the work product doctrine, joint defense privileges, trade secret protections and/or other applicable protections from

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:
Cc:

Subject:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Thursday, November 06, 2014 11:59 AM
Mehdi Rahmani
Stephan; Morra, Robert
RE: Request for Additional Continuation - 33 Phillips Street

Mehdi,
Thanks for the email. Did you get a sense of how long it would take to get a plan from the engineer? It relates to how
long the continuation should be. Tonight the ZBA will have to pick a "date certain" to continue to. The continuation
date should include an opportunity for you to apply and have a hearing with the Conservation Commission- and must
include the fact that the schedule for these volunteer boards will diminish between mid-December and early January.
Depending on how long it will take the engineer, I would be recommending that the.ZBA continue to January
15'h. Here's why:

The Conservation Commission will have their next meeting on December 10'h. In order to be on that agenda, an
application for a Notice of lnterit(along with the submission of an engineer plan) must be submitted by
November 26'h at noon. I would recommend that you do whatever you can to have the engineer's plan done by
then and have the meeting with the Conservation Commission on December 10'h. This would allow time in the
event that the Conservation Commission requested more information or needed more time.

The Conservation Commission will then have their next meeting on January i4'h. The ideal scenario would be.
that you begin on December 10'h and are approved by the Conservation Commission on January 14'h. This
would allow the ZBA to fully utilize the Conservation Commission decision in rendering their decision. The worst
case scenario is if the engineer plans are not ready and January 14'h is the first hearing with the Conservation
Commission.

What do you think?


Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
baggj@amherstma.gov

From: Mehdi Rahmani [mailto:mr@vazirlaw.com]

Sent: Thursday, November 06, 2014 10:44 AM


To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Cc: Stephan; Morra, Robert

Subject: Request for Additional Continuation - 33 Phillips Street


Good morning Jeff,
Pursuant to our conversation yesterday, we will need to request an additional continuance for the 33 Phillips Street
hearing. Stephan has reached out to Lewis & Cook; they have recommended engineers to visit the site and complete a
detailed draw up. As the requested plans and additional information cannot be completed in time for our scheduled
hearing this evening, we will need some additional time, subject to you and the board's approval.

Thank you for your attention.


All the best,
Mehdi
Mehdi Rahmani I Principal
Vazir Law and Sports Management
800 Boylston Street. 16'h Floor I Boston

T: +1 617 207 4088 /M: +1617 320 1606


DL: +1 857 453 6542 /F: +1 857 453 6501
mr@vazirlaw.com I www.vazirlaw.com
~ CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE ..,. The information (including any attachments) contained in this electronic communication is
privileged and confidential and intended only for the use of the named addressee and is or may be protected by the attorney-client
privilege, the work product doctrine, joint defense privileges, trade secret protections and/or other applicable protections from
disclosure. The sender of this communication specifically intends to preserve the confidentiality of the enclosed information and
does not waive any applicable privilege or protection from disclosure.

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....

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Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

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Cc:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Friday, December 19, 2014 4:28 PM
'Stephan'; Mehdi Rahmani
Morra, Robert; Willson, Elizabeth
33 Phillips Street (ZBA FY2015-00007)
RE: 33 Phillips Street; RE: Request for Additional Continuation - 33 Phillips Street

Stephan and Mehdi,


Now that 186 College Street is underway, I'd like to turn your attention to 33 Phillips Street. I haven't heard anything
from you on this since November 5th. Here's a quick re-cap:

During the initial hearing on October 2, 2014, the Zoning Board of Appeals requested a range of additional
information needed for them to review the application. They continued the hearing to November 6, 2014.
On October 29, 2014, while doing the site visit for 186 College Street, you provided me an updated survey
showing the wetland boundary information.
On October 30, 2014, you em ailed me a rendering of the site plan and a rendering of the west side of the
building.
.
On October 31, 2014, I sent you a comprehensive email summarizing numerous issues that were unresolved
(email is attached).
On November 6, 2014 you requested and the ZBA granted a continuation to January 29, 2015 to allow additional
time to have an engineer review the parking area, architect update the plans, and for an application to be made
to the Conservation Commission. That same day I sent an email outlining the timelines associated with making
an application to the Conservation Commission, which including the potential to appear before ttiem twice
before returning to the ZBA at the end of January (email is attached).

It's critical that you work with your team to submit an application to the Conservation Commission. Here is information
about how to make an application. You may wish to speak with the wetland consultant who did the work for
assistance:

Notice of Intent (NO I)


The Town accepts the Massachusetts DEP WPA Form 3- Notice of Intent form for both state and local filings. In
cases where work falls under the jurisdiction of The Town of Amherst Wetlands Protection Bylaw, only the town's
portion of the state fee shall be submitted. Applications may be downloaded here or obtained from the
Conservation Department office, located on the second floor of Town Hall.
WPA Form 3- Notice of Intent Application (PDF)
WPA Form 3- Instructions (PDF)
NOI Checklist (PDF)
Abutter's List Request Form (PDF)
Abutter Notification Template Form (PDF)
Wetland Fee Transmittal Form (PDF)
Given the pattern of either miscommunication, or a lack of communication, I'd like to request from you a detailed list of
actions you've taken since November 5th in preparation for January 29th and a time line for preparing the requested
information.
Sincerely,

Jeff Bagg

Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject:
Attachments:

FW: 33 Phillips Street (ZBA FY2015-00007)


RE: 33 Phillips Street; RE: Request for Additional Continuation - 33 Phillips Street

From: Bagg, Jeffrey

Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2015 2:12PM


To: 'Stephan'; Mehdi Rahmani
Cc: Morra, Robert
Subject: FW: 33 Phillips Street (ZBA FY2015-00007)

Stephan and Medhi,


I haven't heard anything from you on this in response to my email below, or since November 61h.
The both of you should plan to attend the continued public hearing set for 6:30p.m. on January 29,2015 to give the ZBA
an update. Any new information is required to be submitted a week prior to the hearing, so that deadline would be
Friday, January 23, 2015 at noon.
~c.

Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

'

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Cc:
Subject:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Wednesday, February 25, 2015 9:38AM
'Stephan'
Morra, Robert
33 Phillips Street & 186 College Street

Dear Stephan,
At the conclusion of the ZBA hearing on January 29, 2015, the ZBA chair sent a pretty stern message that a complete
application be provided at the continued hearing on June 11, 2015 or you'd be faced with a potential denial of the
request.
While June sounds distant, the track record.has been one of long delays in between preparation of plans and then the
prepared plans being only partially complete.
.
My recommendation woul.d be that we plan a meeting either late next week or the w!'!.ek after with you, your attorney
and Richard Cook. We need to all sit and be clear as to what is necessary to complete the process.
It would be helpful if you give me an update on what you've done since the last hearing.
Thanks,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Subject:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Tuesday, March 31, 2015 1:50 PM
Stephan
RE: 33 Phillips Street & 186 College Street

Dear Stephan,
It has been over 30 days since you replied to my email below. In order to have all the necessary information for the May
14th ZBA meeting {186 College St) and June 11th ZBA meeting (33 Phillips Street), you really need to be coordinating with
your wetland consultant and the Town's Wetland Administrator. It's my understanding applications received by April 8th
would be scheduled for a hearing with the Conservation Commission on April 22nd. Additionally, you really need to be
working with your surveyor, a civil engineer, and your architect, to ensure that all the plans and information are
complete. As we have discussed, involving a civil engineer is critical for the new parking area.
I recommend that we have a meeting with you, your surveyor, and architect to ensure that all this is coming together. In
terms of 33 Phillips St.c~et, the ZBA Chair was explicit in stating that if you have not P.ulled everything together to the
satisfaction of the Town by June 11th that the application would be denied.
.
Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187
From: Stephan [mailto:sgharabe@gmail.com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 10:51 AM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject: Re: 33 Phillips Street & 186 College Street

Good morning Jeff,


I am actually headed to the airport. Be back end of next week. Have a nice couple of weeks, speak with you
after.
On Feb 25, 2015 9:38AM, "Bagg, Jeffrey" <baggjlaJ,amherstma.gov> wrote:
Dear Stephan,

At the conclusion of the ZBA hearing on January 29, 2015, the ZBA chair sent a pretty stern message that a
complete application be provided at the continued hearing on June 11, 2015 or you'd be faced with a potential
denial of the request.

While June sounds distant, the track record has been one of long delays in between preparation of plans and
then the prepared plans being only partially complete.

My recommendation would be that we plan a meeting either late next week or the week after with you, your
attorney and Richard Cook. We need to all sit and be clear as to what is necessary to complete the process.

It would be helpful if you give me an update on what you've done since the last hearing.

Thanks,

JeffBagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj @amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Cc:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Friday, April17, 2015 1:22PM
Mehdi Rahmani; Stephan
Morra, Robert; Willson, Elizabeth
RE: Parking Lots - 33 Phillips & 186 College
RE: 33 Phillips Street & 186 College Street; Re: 33 Phillips Street (ZBA FY2015-00007);
RE: Request for Additional Continuation - 33 Phillips Street; RE: 33 Phillips Street; RE: 33
phillips Street, Amherst, MA. 01002

Dear Medhi and Stephan,


I think we should meet to discuss. the idea and the status of the projects in general. I propose that we aim for next
Friday, April 24, 2015 (anytime between 8 a.m. and 3 p.m.).
What's at stake is the loss ofthe fourth unit at Phillips Street and the third unit at College Street. So whatever the
perceived burden is should be compared to the impact of the loss of the ability to use and rent those units.
It's troubling that nothing has been done since January for Phillips Street andsince December for College Street -I've
given as much guidance and information as I can to aim these projects in the right direction.
Let's give it one more. shot by meeting to review.

Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Depa.rtment
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187'

From: Mehdi Rahmani [mailto:mr@vazirlaw.com]


Sent: Wednesday, April15, 2015 4:09 PM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Cc: Stephan
Subject: Parking Lots- 33 Phillips & 186 College
Hi Jeff,
.I hope things are going well. Stephan and I wanted to propose an amended solution in regard to the lot build out for the
captioned properties.
Rather than further expanding the lots and going through the approval process with the conservation commission, we
would like to propose reducing the number of parking spaces by one spot in each property. This would reduce the
ov.erall burden on Stephan and allow us to get the properties up to code in swifter fashion.
If you don't think this could be a viable solution, we may need to withdraw the application without prejudice. Please let
me know your thoughts.
1

All the best,


Mehdi
Mehdi Rahmani I Principal
Vazir Law and Sports Management
800 Boylston Street. 16'h Floor I Boston

T: +1617 207 4088 /M: +1 617 320 1606


DL: +1 857 453 6542 /F: +1 857 453 6501
mr@vazirlaw.com

I www.vazirlaw.com

~ CONFIDENTIALITY NOTICE _. The information (including any attachments) contained in this el.ectronic communication is
privileged and confidential and intended only for the use of the named addressee and is or may be protected by the attorney-client
privilege, the work product doctrine, joint defense privileges, trade secret protections and/or other applicable protections from
disclosure~ The sender of this communication specifically intends to preserve the confidentiality of the enclosed information and
does not waive any applicable privilege or protection from disclosure.

If you have received this communication in error, please delete it without further distribution and reply to the sender that you have
received the message in error. Thank you.

"''

Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject:
Attachments:

FW: Parking Lots- 33 Phillips & 186 College


RE: 33 phillips Street, Amherst, MA. 01002; RE: 33 Phillips Street & 186 College Street;
Re: 33 Phillips Street (ZBA FY2015-00007); RE: 33 Phillips Street

From: Bagg, Jeffrey


Sent: Monday, May 04, 2015 3:42 PM
To: Mehdi Rahmani; 'Stephan'
Cc: Morra, Robert; Willson, Elizabeth
Subject: RE: Parking Lots- 33 Phillips & 186 College
Dear Medhi and Stephan,
In the email from April151h you asked whether reducing the number of spaces by one would eliminate the need for
involvement of the Conservation Commission. I had requested a meeting to discuss this and the status of the projects as
a whole, but you had a;,ked for a conference call instead. The following is a quick summary of our conference call on
Friday, May 1, 2015; .

The hearing for 186 College Street is set to resume on May 14th, 2015.
The hearing for 33 Phillips Street is set to resume on June 111h, 2015.
You seemed surprised that the physical changes to the parking at each property would need to be upgraded. In
order to get the approval for the 4th unit at Phillips Street and 3rd unit at College Street you will need to
physically upgrade the condition of the parking areas (for 33 Phillips it has been previously identified that the
building will need to be sprinklered). This will involve preparing a plan by an engineer and then commitment to
actually have contractors and equipment make .changes to the site.
We discussed the risks of a denial or a request to withdraw the applications. I reminded you that you are in the
Special Permit process to remedy violations of the Zoning Bylaw (and Building Code) and that in either of those
cases (denial or withdrawal) you'd be required to o~tain a building permit and would be required to physically
remove the kitchen and it's major components. You need to compare the cost of the improvements to the loss
in income from the unit.
I'm re-attaching the em ails going back to October 31, 2014 when we started the discussion about parking,
wetlands, and process.
For Phillips Street:
o There would be work occurring within 100 feet of the wetlands and this still requires filing a "Request
for Determination" with the Conservation Commission.
o The survey is like a "map" of the parking -it's only the first step. An engineer needs to show how the
parking area would be actually be upgraded on the site. The Zoning Bylaw requires that a parking area
consist of 12 inches of compacted gravel with a top coat of material. The parking area edges have to be
delineated with something (6x6 wood timbers, wood guard rail fence, etc.). We have not gotten into
those discussions much yet because the plans have been delayed.
o The engineer would need to draw up the plans for the parking area and identify how drainage will be
handled. This plan would be the basis for both the Conservation Commission and ZBA.
o It was reiterated that the ZBA had strongly indicated' the potential for denial ifthe information was not
pulled together for the June 111h continuation (that ZBA meeting was on January 29 1h, 2015)
o So you are aware- our conference call only discussed parking. The ZBA had several other requests in
terms of information about management, maintenance, and responding to complaints.

As indicated in the email from March 31, 2015, an actual in person meeting with you and the .
surveyor/engineer may help- but now time is running very short.

For 186 College Street:


o You noted that you had someone from Richard Cook's office go out and indicate that there are no
wetlands. However, we have not seen that and should be provided with something in writing from
whoever is making that determination.
o The options for parking improvements cannot be figured out until the issue related to whether there are
wetlands, or where are wetlands, is figured out.
o I quickly noted that the existing parking may not meet the Zoning Bylaw requirements for size and
maneuverability.

Sincerely,
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov

413-259-3187

. ..
.\

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:
Cc:
Subject:
Attachments:

Bagg, Jeffrey
Wednesday, June 03, 2015 10:48 AM
ralc2@cs.com
sgharabe@gmail.com; Morra, Robert
RE: 186 College Street Site Plan
Agenda 6-i1-15.doc

Hi Richard,
The short answer to your question is that it is a decision of the Zoning Board of Appeals. There is a long back story that I
will spare you for the moment, but unless you and Stephan both attend the ZBA hearing next week to explain exactly
what is happening, I do not think the Board will grant a continuation and would likely deny both requests all together. 1
do not believe that simply stating that you waiting for Environmental Studies will be sufficient. Again, there is a long
back story that I am not providing, but the applications for College Street began in October 2014 and 33 Phillips Street
began in September 2014 and last time the ZBA informed Stephan that coming back on June 11'h without all the
necessary plans would res.ult in denial.
For example, the wetlands for 33Phillips Street have alreadybeen flagged and plotted onthe-survey. We've asked for
an engineered plan for the improved parking lot to review storm water runoff/retention, grading, and more details as to
the scope of construction to improve the parking. It's unclear if you'd lump that in with Environmental Studies?
Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

From: ralc2@cs.com [mailto:ralc2@cs.com]


Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2015 10:31 AM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Cc: sgharabe@gmail.com
Subject: 186 College Street Site Plan
Good Morning Jeff
I am working with Stephan Gharabegian (College Street Properties, LLC) preparing a SITE PLAN for acquiring the
special permits for
33 Phillips & 186 College St in town and would request additional time to complete the submittals as we are waiting for
the Environmental Studies to be
completed.

Richard L. Cook, Principal


Lewis & Cook Surveyors
69 Nipmuck Street
Palmer, MA 01069
413-283-7238 Voice
413-289-1808 Fax
413-523-2684Cell
RALC2@CS.com

Bagg, Jeffrey
From:

Sent:
To:

Subject:

Stephan <sgharabe@gmail.com>
Thursday, June 11, 2015 9:44AM
Bagg, Jeffrey
. RE:ZBA

Hello again,
I guess Richard has been busy without telling me. Now I understand why you like to be tn the loop!
His preparing the RDA for both properties. He has everything and will have it for me today. Maybe that would
convince the ZBA to continue the application.
You have everything else. I sent you the updates architect plans two weeks ago for 186 college st.
On Jun 11,2015 9:14AM, "Stephan" <sgharabe@gmail.com> wrote:
I have called and emaiH!d Richard on a daily basis. I have ex;plained the importance of this and I still have
nothing. So I am assuming that I
have to either get continuance or file a iJ.ew application. Either case I
think I need to contact a different surveyor.

will

On Jun 11,2015 9:11AM, "Bagg, Jeffrey" <baggj@amherstma.gov> wrote:

Stephan,

I'm attaching the agenda. 33 Phillips is at 6:45p.m. and 186 College Street is at 8:40p.m.
anyone with you? Also, what is the status?

Jeff Bagg
Senior Planner
Amherst Planning Department
baggj@amherstma.gov
413-259-3187

Are you planning to bring

From: Stephan [mailto:sgharabe@gmail.com]


. Sent: Thursday, June 11, 2015 8:55AM
To: Bagg, Jeffrey
Subject: ZBA

Good morning,
What time is my meeting tonight? Thank you.