No Time to Take a Break!

I was hoping after a spectacular Preservation Week that we could recuperate a little but apparently that is not to be!       We’ve a development group that wants to knock down an historic home so they can put up senior housing.     

I’ve no problem with building senior housing.

I’ve no problem with a developer trying to build senior housing near a medical center.     Makes sense!

I’ve no problem with increasing density in the heart of our city.

I’ve no problem someone trying to make some money and earn some profit and perhaps generate some jobs and increasing our tax revenue for the city.



It serves no benefit to destroy our historic district buildings.      They are the core source of our economic benefit.     Not hospitals, not schools, not senior housing, not marinas or rail trails or open space – common sense is to protect the very source of our wealth!

It is the responsible thing to do in our City.

Some accommodation must be made to prevent the destruction of the historic home at 26 Toppan’s Lane.      Either an alternate route for access or the house needs to be moved.          Why a beautiful streetscape must be marred so a few people can make money?      That is not good capitalism.       There should be mutual benefit for all parties and that includes the City of Newburyport.        One of the important roles of the ZBA is to detect a benefit for the City whenever a development requests exemption from the zoning ordinance.

Right now there is a net loss.       Loss of farm land, loss of forest area, loss of historic streetscape, loss of equity and property values for abutters and general diminishing of the Newburyport Historic District.

Anyone who loves this city knows that it is their duty to protect and preserve it –

-Ramona Preston, Online Petition, 26 August, 2010

If you care about and love Newburyport – please be sure to show up tomorrow night at City Hall.       Prior to that, try to get down to the Planning Office and spy the plans so you can contribute to the discussion.    Unable to get down there?   Just show up as a concerned citizen will make a big difference.      THE ZBA MUST RECORD IN THEIR RECORDS ANY STATEMENTS AGAINST THIS PROJECT.      

We must seek accommodation if possible.     Failing that, this project should be rejected.

-P. Preservationist

This entry was posted in Demolitions, Developers, Health and wellness, Preservation, Quality of Life, Real Estate, Streetscape. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to No Time to Take a Break!

  1. One of my readers wishes to be anonymous but had some excellent insight into this project:

    This clarifies some of the comments I have made and also highlights how important it is to get down to the Planning Office for details. And it also helps if the proposal is ‘continued’ to a future meeting. Why waste a night?

    Here are the comments:

    “The drawing shows a “Lot 1” containing an assisted living Alzheimers/dementia
    care (not elderly housing) facility and an access road onto Toppans Lane
    across from the baseball diamond. It also shows a “Lot 2″. Although that
    lot appears to be empty, their intention is to subdivide it into house lots
    (to make up for the price of the property and the access road), which
    would require yet another access road more or less across from Summit Place.

    This is not a committed or approved plan, so it could end up being
    something entirely different.

    Also, just FYI, the square footage of the facility is roughly the same
    as the cancer/medical center on the hospital access road.”

  2. tomsalemi says:

    The city’s appraisal database says 26 Toppans Lane, while looking older, was built in 1930. Is that right?

  3. indyjerry77 says:

    There is a possibility that it is much older. It was one of the buildings that were moved from the area where Route One was to be newly built (in 1930). Usually in assessor records, there are often two false readings: Very early houses with uncertain origins prior to 1851 are often arbitrarily assigned the date Newburyport became a city and the second, when the last major revision was made. Thus, something as massive as moving an entire building would naturally get the event being the last major work on the house.

    A demo application was put in for the building and the Historical Commission went over to inspect it – so Linda Miller and other members may have some input to add.

    • Tom Smith says:

      I wasn’t here (in every literal sense of the word) in 1930, but my understanding is that the house was built circa 1930 but with elements, especially interior elements, recovered from the demolitions in the Route 1 area. If I remember correctly, one of the Historical Commission members referred to an apparently 17th or 18th Century staircase, for example.

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