Newburyport, Clarification, 347 High Street, A Pre-Application Hearing

Some of you out there in web-land may be wondering why I keep “harping” on the proposed project at 347 High Street.

One of the reasons obviously is that I think the project would be extremely detrimental to that historic street.

And I am also concerned that this one is not going away.

I am on a definite learning curve here about all this planning and development stuff.

What I have learned is that the applicant came before the Newburyport Planning Board for a “pre-application” discussion. A pre-application discussion does not require a public hearing. It also does not require that the neighbors be notified.

This was an “informal” meeting with the Newburyport Planning Board.

Luckily the neighbors came out and spoke against the project, which is very helpful, if not downright crucial.

The applicant can still (and usually does) come before the Newburyport Planning Board to formally and “officially” apply for a “special permit.”

It is at this point that there is a “public hearing” on the application and the neighbors are “officially” notified.

It is at that point that the neighbors and anyone else who feels strongly that this project should not happen, should come before the Newburyport Planning Board and “officially” make a statement to that effect for the record.

So, the bad news is that for those of us who do not want to see this project happen, basically the applicant had an informal chat with the Newburyport Planning Board to get their input. Nothing “official” took place.

(The Newburyport Planning Board did indicated however that they thought it was a bad idea to put a structure in front of this stately High Street home and that it would set a very bad precedent for the rest of the historic roadway.)

The next move would be for the applicant to make that “official” step, to come in front of the Newburyport Planning Board and apply for a special permit for this structure.

When and if that does happen, I hope all and sundry – neighbors, media etc. will let the public know about that official public hearing. And that people will come out and speak strongly against the project.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport