Newburyport, Newbury Development on Route 1

I’m going to pass on what I’ve learned about the proposed development by Newbury on Route 1 as I learn more about it.

* Newbury’s financial situation has been described to me as being “desperate” and “in peril.”

* Newbury has almost no income from commercial or industrial business to help support expenses.

* Taxes are almost solely from property taxes.

* Newbury has a large percentage of older folks. A raise in property tax could mean that older folks might have to move.

* Newbury’s Finance Committee and Planning Board are two intelligent and thoughtful groups.

* The town has 3% Affordable Housing. They desperately would like to get that figure to go up towards 10% to qualify for more state help.

* Newbury has been threatened previously with 2 very undesirable projects. I think the town has been threatened with a “40B, landfill transfer center” as well as a “140,000 square-foot shopping center” on this same property. (I need to double and triple check those 2 exact items).
[Editors note: the information on those 2 items has been double checked.]

* Newbury feels that it could work with this developer, Beacon Community Development and is encouraged.

* There was a great deal of positive and receptive feedback from the people who attended the meeting with the developer last week.

* With a cooperative developer, the town of Newbury feels that it is possible to have a positive experience and outcome.

* This is a 40R project, which is different from a 40B project which is different from an Overlay District. From what I understand so far (and I am on a steep learning curve here) an Overlay District gives more control to the town, but a 40R gives more state help, however, less control. There is such a thing as a friendly 40R or even friendly 40B where the town and developer work together.

* Something will be built on that property. The town of Newbury is hoping for the best possible outcome.

* This would be part of the Little River Transit Village proposed project.

* This would not prevent Newburyport from going ahead with its plans for the Little River Transit Village. As I understand it (and again, I am on a steep learning curve here) the reason for the Little River Transit Village for Newburyport is to control growth and to minimize inappropriate growth in other areas of Newburyport, MA.

* The acreage that could be built on is 14 acres not 72 acres. I gather the parcel itself is 72 acres. As I understand it the hope is to preserve open space.

Usually I do not do this sort of post. I know legally I am considered a “publisher” and I’ve tried to put down in this post what I have discovered in my research this weekend, which has been a help to me.

Mary Eaton