Battle Won, War Continues

I ran between meetings last night – first to Newbury to hear the presentation as to why putting 99 greenhouses on the Common Pasture was a REALLY bad idea.     One abutter had a whole series of pictures showing the Pikul property through many seasons: wet, wet, full of aquatic birds, ice, snow and then back to wet.     Very impressive.

The Conservation Commission ruled in favor of stiff requirements if this project is pursued.

The property owner is probably not going to quit – so this skirmish was won but there will be more.      But the evidence is mounting against them and more and more citizens are waking up to the cruel facts if this would actually go through.

Just an added note:  I am extremely in favor of solar – but I totally reject the ludicrous concept of, “Let’s destroy the environment to ‘save the planet’”     I think wind turbines are great but when applicants came to the city and wanted to destroy the Common Pasture with 22; I fought strenuously against such absurdity.      The destruction of habitat and the negative impact only to make some ‘feel good’ is just crazy.     Wind charts show the area has not the sufficient winds to justify their existence.   These belong in an area such as near the ocean or in the ocean to take advantage of continuous winds.

Well, until the next battle, let’s celebrate!

-P. Preservationist



Posted in Agriculture & Farms, Conservation, Developers, Eco-tourism, Ecology, Education, Environment, Flooding, Health and wellness, News and politics, Planning, Preservation, Quality of Life, Solar Panels, Watershed, Wildlife, Wind turbines | Leave a comment


It was an anti-climax; but it’s done!

Because this was an historic event for the City of Newburyport, the Preservation Trust had the foresight to have a picture taken of this city council.       For history, and for a tribute to the fact they worked so well together.

Now, the work begins!       The public needs to know the mechanics of preservation and then the ground is going to be moving under the city – Newburyport Development is on the move, the Waterfront enters a new dichotomy; and a new Master Plan and Zoning ordinance structure will be on the horizon.

Reactive is not good enough; we’ve got to be as proactive as this plan to take a photo of the council.       It takes planning and it takes making the time!

Let’s get going!

-P. Preservationist



Posted in Conservation, History, News and politics, Planning, Preservation, Waterfront, Zoning | Leave a comment

This just in!!!

A letter has been submitted from the Massachusetts Association of Conservation Commissions.

Read this!!!

-P. Preservationist


Posted in Open Space | 1 Comment

A Picture is worth….

Sometimes when the arguments and statements come flying in on an issue of great importance; it is easy for a perspective to get lost.      

This is especially true in politics.       

Since most everyone passes through Scotland Road at one time or another (Boston Destinations, Colby Farms, etc.); I thought I would show some basic pictures.     To say the Pikul property means nothing to you may be your opinion, but as you can see; we’re talking about THAT property – whether consciously or subconsciously – you will recognize this area immediately:

One of the most beautiful panorama’s in the Common Pasture:

The Actual Pikul Property VI

One of the wettest areas in the Common Pasture:

The Actual Pikul Property VII

And a favorite hangout for avian friends:

The Actual Pikul Property IX

Gaze on it well.       We could lose it!

If you care deeply in protecting the quality of life and our wellbeing, please show up at the town hall at 7:00 on Tuesday!

-P. Preservationist

Posted in Eco-tourism, Ecology, Environment, Flooding, Health and wellness, News and politics, Preservation, Quality of Life, Watershed, Wildlife | Leave a comment

Tuesday: A Promise & A Threat

Preserving the way of life we have in Newbury & Newburyport mirrors so much of America’s history.        Just when we think we have a good thing in our country, we have been faced with tyrants and destructive movements that have threatened the quality of life that we enjoy in a free country.        Whether extremism, or fanaticism; Communism, or Nazi Aggression; our citizens have had to sacrifice to keep us protected.        So too in Newburyport!      We’ve got a good thing going in our city and in the greater area.      Visitors come from the rest of New England and from all over and they recognize with great pleasure mixed with envy – what a treasure we possess.         And just like our country, we have destructive forces that want for many reasons to put an end to it.        The question is: do we have the stomach to stand up and protect what we have so cherished and enjoyed!

Tuesday at City Council; we have the second vote needed to protect our historic city.        These two ordinances are vital to keep us going.       We need citizens to sacrifice time from their busy lives to speak and write to our city councilors to support these measures.      I know the aggressors and profiteers will.       Whether it’s lust-filled developers and their hired guns in the form of consultants and demo lawyers; or it’s uncaring property owners who see a quick profit in flipping houses and then, when the damage is done, moving on to the next community to pillage and loot; they aren’t waiting.    The pressures on and our elected leaders need support that when they vote this in; it will be embraced by a community that prefers to continue its affluence and future.        The other side has money, lots of it; and all we have is our love for Newburyport.      Who will win out?

We need a force to come out on Tuesday night and visually show their support.

At the same time, we have another event occurring on the same evening and this one is a direct, in-your-face, threat to our quality of life.       Previously, the Pikuls presented a plan to put solar panels in the most beautiful part of our common pasture.        The same area that large amounts of money from the community has devoted to to protect this historic area.      Though approached by Essex County Greenbelt to preserve this precious open space; they in turn have rebuffed them and chosen to rather put in an industrial development on their property (solar panels) to help support their lifestyle with a steady income. (They do not live here.)        They hired consultants, backed by a large solar installer; who threatened the citizens of the Town of Newbury; stating that the citizens MUST approve this project and that they had no choice but to accept it.      Well, the brave townspeople took that arrogant threat seriously and rebuffed them!         

Now the Pikuls have come up with a dastardly plan.      With the same argument as when farmers used DDT; they want to use the agricultural exemption to install greenhouses with solar panels on top(99 of them –mind you!) with power installations and transformers and the ground torn up for agriculture.   Due to the light level, the only good thing to be grown is mushrooms – but more than likely most will remain empty with the pretense of agriculture.        As the Planning Board has seen the plans; John O’Connell, one of the planners has stated, “It’s going to be hideous, that’s all there is to it..”

We need citizens of Newbury and Newburyport to show up at this meeting also; first to stop this idea that agriculture trumps the environment and second, to speak against the destruction of our quality of life.        The Common Pasture is that one area that hardened commuters note coming in from the over-crowded, high-pressured urban areas.       When they see the cows, the stress rolls off their backs and they know they are arriving “home”.          This stretch is a favorite grazing ground for waterfowl and is a heavily-wet surface that abuts against the Little River.

We need a host to come out on Tuesday and visually show they are against this atrocity.

-P. Preservationist

Posted in Art & Culture, Conservation, Eco-tourism, Ecology, Health and wellness, Landscapes, News and politics, Preservation, Quality of Life | Leave a comment

Sophisticated Politics

We need in the conservation and historic preservation fields more sophistication in our politics.      You can call it ‘thinking fourth-dimensionally’ as used in Back to the Future, or stale terms like ‘thinking outside of the box’ or currently, being multi-dimensional in our thinking.      I don’t care how you label it – but to be victorious in the arena of the public forum; you’ve got to have it.

And a good example is the work being done by the Steering Committee that is dealing with the Master Plan.      At first, you’d think such a group is not the stuff that a typical preservationists would be involved with – it’s just city planning you may say.

You couldn’t be so wrong – it’s in these exercises of almost perpetual committeeing where the dark siders and exploiters love to infiltrate.    People forget that the original Master Plan of 2001 shows a desired outcome of building development on the waterfront and a sprawling industrial park interspersed with residential units north of Hale Street.

The great danger with the Master Plan is it could be corrupted by three horrible prospects: a dark sider’s vision on how the city should be developed; or it could be infused with People of the Now with a today view not a view of the future; or it pursues a mediocre future or worse yet, no vision at all.        Infused with poison, it could stymie our city’s development and cancel out our high quality of life – usually for the benefit of a select few.

Awhile back under Mayor Lavender’s term of office, the Strategic Land Use committee ran a multi-table discussion much like Mayor Holaday is planning for the Waterfront.      Each table had a map of the Common Pasture and the Industrial Park and the traffic circle and each group could add a block for buildings or why the area should be left to open space.      This little area near Storey Avenue kept popping up with lots of buildings on it which seemed to go against the intent of the Strategic Land Use Committee.     No one confessed to having put it there and so it was removed.     All these inputs went back to the Planning Office and the final result was printed out – and the block of buildings were put back in!     

Turned out that Norbert Carey wanted a development there and the Mayor agreed and it went in.     We now have a block of buildings called Oleo Woods there now!      This one was let slipped in - but those delving in sophisticated politics would know to nip this in the bud!

There are a lot of projects being proposed in the city – we have a sophisticated City Hall and Mayor and the City Council is just as proficient; we need preservationists to be pro-active and be watchful and that means participating whereever, whenever to ensure our beautiful city is protected and prosperous.         

And there are a lot of wolves on the perimeter who’d love to steer all that affluence in their direction.

Take the time, do your research and get out there and mix it up throughout the city!

-P. Preservationist


Posted in Education, Health and wellness, News and politics, Open Space, Planning, Preservation, Quality of Life | Leave a comment

Overall our city has been blessed.

I would love to see the city do the right thing on so many fronts but I have to remind myself that our city has been very lucky.

Lucky to have a bevy of concerned citizens.

There are a lot of towns and cities in which the majority of the residents do not become involved in politics.     In fact, most do worse – refuse to educate themselves as to what is actually going on in their community and to take the next step, participate.

And you can tell by the way their places are screwed up.     Politicians doing their own thing including conducting a little graft on the side; bureaucrats thinking up the latest stupid idea that becomes apparent years later; or the whole place following the usual pop culture idea of reality and truth.

But it didn’t happen here.

Picture suburban sprawl interspersed with factories from Low Street to Route 95 – all the way down Scotland Road with rectangular ‘replicated’ marsh lands that look like the midwest’s idea of ‘lakes’. (i.e. square or rectangular).     A high speed lane replacing High Street much like you see in Danvers and Everett. (Horrors) or blacktop all the way to the water like Lynn.    An ugly, dying center of town after all the culture has been ripped out and shiny, cold buildings put in like Haverhill.       Or a beautiful, modern downtown with nothing on the ground floor but homeless in the allies and criminals roaming the neighborhoods like so many USA cities.

We’re lucky because we have citizens, carpetbaggers and townies, natives and newcomers – who really care.     

Yes, it’s messy but as I travel down to Boston thru so many failed communities – it is well worth it.

It’s exhausting Newburyporters, going to all these meetings and doing your homework when you have families and jobs;  but I beg you – don’t give up on our city.

The sacrifice of talent and time will have a great reward – our high quality of life.     

-P. Preservationist

PS.  Demolition Ordinances, Historic Preservation, Master Plan, Harbor Master, Schools and the Waterfront and not forgetting everything in between.


Posted in Health and wellness, News and politics, Planning, Quality of Life | Leave a comment