The Zoning Board of Appeals continued to Dec. 19, its permitting hearing for the Villas at Vaughan Place, 15 condos for people 55 and older in the Foster Pond area.
First, though, on Wednesday, ZBA members heard from an engineer who reviewed the applicant's drainage study, and from residents who live near the site and attested to the hardship they have endured due to frequent flooding.
The ZBA hearing at the Swampscott Senior Center was packed, about 65 people sitting and standing.
Developer Ralph DiGiorgio is the applicant before the ZBA seeking an independent living special permit, a site plan special permit and a frontage dimensional variance from the board.
As part of the project's review, Dominic Rinaldi of BSC Group Engineers analyzed the drainage study assembled by the applicant's engineer, Richard Salvo of Engineering Alliance.
Key parts of the drainage plan for the ledge-filled, 4.87-acre parcel of undeveloped land is to direct stormwater from roads and driveways to a constructed wetland of detention ponds and aquatic plants, and from roofs to dry wells.
The object is to slow and control the flow of stormwater.
Rinaldi said he based his review on state and local environmental standards.
The drainage from the proposed development only contributes about a quarter of the water that flows to nearby residents' homes.
Therefore, he said, he did not expect the drainage on the Villas property to influence the amount of flooding they experience.
"I would hesitate to say it will make it better ... but it should not make it worse," he said.
Neighbors offered testimony to how bad the situation is and they worry that increased development will increase their woes.
One Archer Street neighbor said her home has flooded 10 times in the years she has lived there.
Residents spoke of losing cars, washers and dryers and having to install multiple sump pumps that operate during rainstorms.
An Elwin Street resident said stormwater flows into the sewer system and floods his land with raw sewage.
Resident Patricia Makseyn said she is concerned about the flooding and the project's impact on a nearby Brownsfield site. Brownsfield sites are restored areas of contamination.
Others said the project's traffic, noise, lighting and the resultant loss of woodlands would ruin the quality of life in the neighbrohood.
Arthur Palleschi, a lawyer representing abutters Maura and Robert Dandreo, questioned the accuracy of the traffic study supplied by the applicant.
ZBA member Peter Spellios recommended to the applicant's attorney. Ken Shutzer, that he look, ahead of the Dec. 19 meeting, at the project's traffic study and site plan review criteria as well as stormwater items.