Newburyport, 40B Housing, the Woodman Property

I think I may have finally calmed down enough to comment on Mayor John Moak’s decision to go ahead with a 40B housing project on the Woodman property on Low Street in Newburyport. The property is across the street from the shopping plaza that contains Shaws.

Where to even begin.

A) Newburyport’s Planning Office, under the leadership of Nick Cracknell (now axed by Mayor John Moak) had come up with a solution. 10 dwellings that would include affordable housing, a compromise between a huge development and open space. Yet another one of the many Nick Craknell win-win situations.

B) Mayor John Moak throws out that solution in favor of a 40B housing project. Paired down from, 150 to 100 units, we think.

C) This decision takes place without the Planning Director being part of the decision making process (The Undertoad Blog, April 14, 2006.) Talk about hubris.

D) This not only shows an incredibly lack of respect and contempt (The Undertoad Blog, April 2006) for soon to be gone Planning Director, Nick Cracknell, but it also shows an incredible lack of respect and contempt for all the boards and committees that helped make this very thoughtful compromise a possibility.

E) The realtor involved is Dick Sullivan, former mayor and major Moak supporter, part of the “good old boy” network (The Undertoad Blog, April 14,2006.) My feeling is that it is always a good thing to avoid even the appearance of impropriety. The fact that this has the “who cares about anyone else, I’m taking care of my own, thank you very much,” thing written all over it, drives me absolutely nuts.

F) What in the world is this 150-100 unit project going to do to this particular area? This is huge folks. How about the traffic in that area, which is congested already. The burden on the new Low Street sewer system that’s just been put into place. And no, I don’t buy this empty-nester thing. Obviously families will move into a complex like the one proposed. One can only imagine how that will affect our school system.

G) I feel utterly helpless and wonder if it will ever be possible to get through to Mayor John Moak. Well, now I’ve worked myself into such a state again over this particular issue, that I’m going to stop writing this particular blog post for now. And I’m going to try and calm down and maybe try and address this issue at a later date.

H) And no, I do not think that Mayor John Moak has any time to “turn it around,” thank you very much. I think this is just one more large, very large nail in John Moak’s political coffin.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport