I know this is last minute but I wanted everyone to know that the Planning Board meeting on Smart Growth will be taped but also live on PortMedia.
This will be the last time before it enters into the environment of City Council for the public to speak.
This is not a simple for and against situation. To keep the Common Pasture open and businesses and residences safe from flooding the plan has always been to encourage development around the rather meager looking traffic circle.
This is an issue that is complicated and I hope my series on Minco had helped.
The issue is what type of development are we seeking and will it produce a healthy addition to our town or become a disappointing nightmare.
For my part I worry about the undue focus on rental apartments. Both Amesbury and Newburyport have had horrible experiences in the past.
Will it happen again or will good planning win out?
As a follow up to the Committee of the Whole on Smart Growth; I submit the following pieces of information:
The meeting was excessively long and even though PortMedia broadcast the meeting live, they cut out just when the juicy meet was really being served. It was so long that Dyke Hendrickson had to leave (due to publishing deadlines) and even the Mayor and many of the Planning Board ‘threw in the towel’ and went home. Unfortunately, they missed some vital facts that were revealed late in the session.
Fortunately, for all those who have been monitoring the proposed Smart Growth Zoning; I taped every last piece of it – all three-and-a-half hours of it! This will soon be edited and made available before the fateful presentation before the full council on the 15th of September.
PortMedia will attempt to schedule it in; but I will definitely have it available on the Internet.
Just to give you a hint of some of the bombshells revealed, two major pieces of news:
First, that an independent consulting company did an evaluation of our water and sewer capacity in 2005 in lieu of Newbury creating a Little River Transit Village; at that time, it was indicated the city could not handle the additional utility demands. This would be similar to what is being permitted for the new Smart Growth District. Now, the city has self-certified in 2015 that it could easily handle the additional infrastructure. The City Council and the Planning Office will approach the consulting company (still in use by the city) to find out the truth.
Second, that Haverhill and Lawrence have found a troubling trend in their Smart Growth developments. Drug dealers from the North are using the rental units as a convenient depot to purchase and transfer from drug providers from the south resulting in an uptick in crime and violence in these supposedly commuter-oriented apartments. Our close proximity to Route 95 will only exacerbate a tendency toward this use. In all probability, we will have to have an increased police presence in that area.
Stuck in the production room, it was painful but I was able to stick it out in the wild hope that the ‘rental’ issue would be addressed by the many amendments proposed by Councilors Eigerman and Herzog. Alas no, the long-documented sacred cow of social engineering by government fiat is to continue. (You can find the city’s past efforts (all miserable failures) scattered about the city) This loser will have much company.
In a final note, you will catch the shocking statements by the Head of the Planning Board, as he claims this neighborhood will seamlessly blend into our other fine neighborhoods and will become a real community in itself. All I can presume is, that it was late and the meeting long; and he was walking and talking in his sleep.
Such lovely dreams!