It is a very sore subject in Newbury – but again, we have some ‘old economy’ believers who think that more residential development will bring in more taxes for the city.

But as has been well-documented and published across the country, business land development brings in positive revenue but residential development causes a huge upswing in infrastructure costs which results in needing higher taxes because it causes negative revenue.

As long time Newbury resident, Norm Rehn, knows:

“I have heard before from knowledgeable Newbury residents (Finance Committee people) that the typical new single family home costs more in services than it contributes to the town in taxes.”’

Newbury as done a tremendous job of re-zoning Route One so businesses can contribute to supporting the town in a positive way; but old bad habits persist.

The reason the town is in constant arrears because residential housing has sprung up all over the community on land that once was left to farming.   Each new house adds more  infrastructure.  Now the board of health wants to make it easier to squeeze in more of the same which will undo all those business revenue gains as the town has to increase its taxes to cover more students in the schools, and more and more services.

Most people are aware that increasing residential development does not cover the costs of those needed services.  What is the average cost to Newbury of a single student in Newbury Elementary or Triton?  $12,000, $13000 per pupil?  If 20 homes go in by the Parker River that could bring in an additional 40 students and the town would need to raise $500,000 per year to just cover the school costs.  Never mind additional costs for police, fire, etc.

Chuck Bear says there is a  beautiful 27-arce property along the river bend that could be developed as well as the town selling the Old Larkin Mill site. He quoted that broadening [i.e. increasing] the tax base for Newbury is a good thing!      Or so he thinks!

What about withdrawal, additional stress on the river edge, the impairments listed on EPA’s 305/303(d) list,  changes to wellhead protection zones, etc.

So why get rid of the bylaw?  If someone is proposing a project that they feel won’t harm the river, then go in front of the zoning board for a variance of the 300-foot setback and have them prove it.

The questions is – how many developments can the river and its community be stressed with, and the town take the burden on new services like fresh water supply for these new developments!?!

The meeting is tonight and the voices of the Newbury residents are needed!

Here is the meeting details.

-P. Preservationist


This entry was posted in Businesses, Developers, Economics, Environment, Health and wellness, History, Preservation, Quality of Life, Real Estate, schools, Sewage, Taxes, Waterfront, Watershed, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.


  1. T.J. Loring says:

    Your right Jerry.
    If common business were guiding development decisions they would be talking about:
    An unacceptable ROI (return on investment)
    If Economics were applied it would be the Law of Diminishing Returns.
    Of the ten requirements for a successful community, Numbers 1-3 would be Water, Water and Water (alternately, provide adequate parking for the FEMA water trucks); 4 would be infrastructure; 5 Public Safety; 6 Schools; 7 Civic involvement; 8-10 responsible
    leaders, stewards, & managers.
    If you come across any please send them to Newburyport City Hall.
    They’re in the process of destroying their water supply.
    T.J. Loring

  2. indyjerry77 says:

    When I wrote this blog – that very evening the Board of Health met. Not enough time for taxpayers to readjust their schedule and show up to voice opposition. The Board must have been satisfied with their ‘clever’ idea; and will be meeting with the Finance Board and the Zoning Board on October 4th, at 6:30.

    Listen, I live in Newburyport but I also moved here from Central New Jersey from the beautiful Princeton Area. Regrettably, the college town is still beautiful but the rural country scene which once surrounded the town is now chocked with suburban developments that come right up to the town’s border and the traffic is insufferable.

    This whole area will be impacted if certain selectman and town officials decided to destroy Newbury’s rural setting with development after development until Parker River turns into the Charles River. It would be very sad indeed, and would impact Newburyport as well.

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