The Strategic Land Use Plan is basically an addendum to the Master Plan which left out this huge swath of land running from Storey Avenue along Route 95 to the Scotland Road exit. A series of savage 100 year and one 500 year storm (all in a short range of time) had caused extensive damage to the Quail Run Neighborhood and the Lord Timothy Dexter Industrial Park. The original plan by the city was to put in a mix of industrial and residential development right from Hale Street all the way up to Storey Avenue.
The members of the Strategic Land Use Committee (SLUC) represented citizens, environmental groups, the chamber of commerce, Newburyport Area Industrial Development and local businesses that would be affected by this area being developed.
The conclusion of the SLUC: development should be concentrated around the Route One traffic circle and the train station and that developers should be encouraged to transfer development interest in that direction and the area to the north be left as open space.
Since then, the entire SLU Plan has been a tremendous success.
A large swath of zoned industrial became the Cooper North Pasture Conservation Area, administered by the Water Department and overseen by the Conservation Commission. Thanks to the successful ballot initiative by Citizens of Environmental Balance (CEB); their Axe the Access Road campaign lead to the present day Little River Nature Trail and the Gloria Braunhardt Bike Trail (on the abandoned interstate road) overseen by Parker River Clean Water Association. Since then, a large swath of the upper Little River basin has been given to the city and is being administered by Essex County Greenbelt with future plans for a unified Little River Trail System in the works.
We still have a swath of land owned by the Woodman Family which, even admitted by the courts, couldn’t sustain any more than two houses; and with present conservation laws would be unlikely to even see a 40B.
Wait a minute! Aren’t they supposed to transfer their interests toward the traffic circle and the train station? Why yes they are! In fact, they have lobbied HARD locally and on the state level to make this so. They have pushed hard with slick brochures and intense social media efforts.
But according to the SLU Plan; they should be either giving that land up on the upper Little River Basin over to the city or putting a commercial building right next to Low Street and committing the rest of the land to open space (probably administered by ECGB).
It would first of all be great public relations; and it would be a showy demonstration that they are serious about their commitment to transferring their development rights.
So, I ask again,
What is this sign doing there!?!
PS. Solution? Give the land to the City or develop it with some commercial use close to Low Street and the rest dedicated to open space.