I feel very angry at what Harvey Beit way back in March 2006 in a Letter to the Editor in the Newburyport Daily News called the “power group.”
Harvey Beit never identified who was in the “power group” in his Letter to the Editor. But I imagine that Mr. Beit was talking about folks like Jonathan Woodman, Bill O’Flaherty, Terry Jones, some of the people who were the most out spoken, strident and openly critical of our former Planning Director, Nick Cracknell.
(What makes things so difficult is that we are a rather small community, and I know all these folks. And on a day to day basis, I like them.)
Ok, I’ll admit it, if you weren’t on Nick Cracknell’s wave length, he could be kind of “difficult” to deal with. Mr. Cracknell could be so focused on whatever projects were at hand that it could take a bit of doing to get him to focus on or possibly see other possibilities.
However, that being said, what worries me is that the “power group” could do whatever they can to either eradicate or undermine many of the planning policies that have been enacted in the last 4 years under Nick Cracknell’s guidance.
The “site plan review” is one that comes to mind. When the Newburyport Five Cents Savings Bank wanted to expand, the “site plan review” was seen not as the possibility of a dialogue with informed and caring citizens, but an obstacle and a nuisance.
Of course time is money, and this “site plan review” thing, along with the “demolition delay” thing, was just plain inconvenient. Never mind the integrity of an historic town.
I sat through those hearings, that particular “site plan review,” and I was appalled by the disdain and contempt with which the “power group” treated the proceedings and the people connected with them.
And I think that it is unfortunate that the “power group” basically ignored so much of the input of a very intelligent and informed community.
I would hope that the business community would not support the present plan for the “strip mall” proposed by developer Scott Morrow for 81-83 Storey Avenue. If they do endorse it, I would be dismayed. This is exactly the kind of project that the “site plan review” is so appropriate for (and believe me it was very appropriate for One Temple Street — the Five Cents Savings Bank project, too.)
I would hope that the desire for “tax base at any cost” would not cloud the business community’s (or the Mayor’s) judgement, and that they would be supportive of the Newburyport Planning Board and the Newburyport Zoning Board of Appeals. And that the business community would not undermine this very important ordinance, one that is in place to try and ensure an appropriate quality of life for everybody in Newburyport, Massachusetts.
Mary Eaton, Newburyport