Planning and Zoning Boards Approve Brewer-Young Mansion Plans

LONGMEADOW, MA – In recent meetings, Longmeadow’s Planning Board and Zoning Board of Appeals both unanimously approved Longmeadow Historic Preservation Partners’ site and parking plans, which are part of their efforts to restore the Brewer-Young Mansion.

At a special town meeting on Jan. 25, 2018, by a vote of 857-381, residents voted to save the historic mansion and enable it to become self-sustaining by changing its zoning from residential to professional.

The Massachusetts Attorney General has approved the town’s decision and confirmed the change does not constitute “spot zoning.”

The mansion had endured eight years of uncertainty, during which time it fell into severe disrepair without any interest from residential buyers, saw eviction of its last inhabitants, and was abandoned for the last three years.

The re-development plan presented at a May 2 Planning Board public hearing was essentially unchanged from the plans presented at town meeting, with an exception being an increase of onsite parking from 27 to 36 parking spots located in the rear of the property. The duo of local citizens, Chris Orszulak and Dr. Andrew Lam, along with their partner, Henry Clement, said they decided to increase the amount of parking to ensure there will be adequate off-street parking for the property.

“We are thrilled to have obtained the approval of these important town bodies and thank them for all the time that they, and the town departments like police, fire, and DPW, have spent evaluating our plans,” Chris Orszulak said. “Restoring this property will take at least a year, but we are more excited than ever to revitalize it as an important landmark for our town.”

The team has recently started work on the building’s exterior, particularly its crumbling porches which will be restored to their historic appearance.

“We spent the winter months interviewing sub-contractors and gathering bids on everything from paint to landscaping to asbestos removal,” said partner Henry Clement. “Now the work will begin in earnest.”

The group is also actively engaged in negotiations with potential tenants.

“After all the leases are signed we will be able to announce who will be occupying the building,” said Dr. Andrew Lam. “So far, all our prospective tenants are local residents with very successful businesses. They like the idea of working close to home in such a beautiful and unique setting.”

During the Planning Board meeting, member Bruce Colton remarked, “I commend the petitioners for the way they have conducted themselves throughout this process.”