There are plans in the works to demolish an historic structure on the off-ramp of Route One in Newburyport. The structure is clearly historic. In fact, the new owners are so determined to use the outward ‘ugliness’ of this building to just get rid of it.
This is one degree of madness!
But while they have determined to hire the top demo-lawyer of the city to get their way, has anyone stopped to consider the insanity of putting in its place the replacement for this historic building?
They want to put A RESIDENCE on the off-ramp of a major state highway?
This is another degree of madness!
In fact, this idea violates the very idea of zoning. If you look at the original concept, it was done with the idea of public safety and for improving the community’s quality of life. Before the late 19th century; mixing businesses, factories and residences all into a big ball of community was quite common. It worked when you lived above the little shop, and then came down to the first floor to do some form of manufacturing or retail.
Then came the belching, black-smoke generating, gut-wrenching loud factories of the industrial revolution. The need came to segregate residences away from the factories to make sure everyone was safe. And I realize that our Zoning Board of Appeals have so separated themselves from the original intent of zoning and have focused solely on dimensional and procedural routine; but still this is madness. I also realize that Lisa Mead has defined everything under the sun as a ‘hardship*’ which somehow justifies canceling out the common sense rules of zoning and therefore, in her reasoning, her clients can do anything they want.
But seriously, how can you allow for an insane decision to put residential housing on an off-ramp?
My question is this? Has our ZBA boiled down to letting anyone who has cash to do what they want because they have the means as long as some ‘dimensional’ lot lines are followed?
Will procedure trump common sense?
Are we nothing more than a cash-in-now-until-the-bust, boom town?
* The new application of ‘hardship’ is that since all houses all around have violated the zoning, thus the applicant can violate the zoning also. Talk about being creative!