Smart Growth 40R District – Learn the Details

The devil is in the details or as the Bible recounts, the little foxes that spoil the vineyards; all of this is true when it comes to this most complex zoning area around the traffic circle.

I taped the entire 40R Smart Growth Zoning Hearing on August the 26th.

Though toward the end of the session, while sitting in the little production room in the basement of City Hall; I had an intense desire to stab myself with a knife or to bash my head against the nearest wall.      Three hours of endless tinkering by the Council of the Whole on the details of this strange structure for the train station and the traffic circle.

Instead of laying on the beach or relaxing in my backyard; I endured the unendurable. (I shouldn’t complain – the city councilors and Planning Board members were upstairs literally trying to stay alert and awake!   Even the Mayor threw in the towel toward the end and went home.)

But I have formatted the entire hearing into something to watch, so; for the patient:

PortMedia will be airing on channel 9 the following times:

Mon           9/21/2015             12pm

Thu            9/24/2015             7am

Fri              9/25/2015            8am

There is still a lot of mystery around this zoning.       I was shocked this last week to see monster Boston Capital having their representative speaking before city council; and our elected officials actually taking what was said seriously!      Does this mean that they (A rather large holding company of condos and rental complexes in Boston) will be running the Minco facility?

Why does Minco keep mentioning 800 units in the future in this area initially on their website when at the most, there will be 540 (if they chase out the ducks and waterfowl from the wetlands)?

Why has no one addressed the socio-economic issue of a large rental complex (and more like it around the traffic circle) and what kind of impact that will be on our crime rate, infrastructure and traffic patterns?         Are these young, and old Boston commuters; or are they our local, hard-pressed populace that will live in a very tall, isolated structure in the middle of the business park. (for perhaps the next five to ten years)      Or is this going to be a great breeding ground for drug dealers, subsidized housing and anything else they can manage to take residence over a very noisy train station?

I think my self-inflicted urge was most intense when I waited and waited for amendments that never came about dealing with worse case scenarios.      All I heard was cotton-candy, kittens and happy sunrises.

And all the while, I saw large, state-wide development companies and Boston-based politicians drooling with the glint of gold in their eyes.     And I saw them again on the 15th, hanging about in the hallway of City Hall.


What are we, the citizens of Newburyport, not seeing!?!


-P. Preservationist



This entry was posted in Affordable Housing, Businesses, Developers, Economics, Education, finances, Infrastructure, News and politics, Open Space, Planning, Real Estate, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.

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