Newburyport, Massachusetts, Development Happens

In response to Ben Laing’s posting (nice to have you as a guest blogger, Mr. Laing), my point of view is that development happens. I am a big proponent of “controlled development” or “smart growth.”

A good example of this is the Russell Terrace project. There is an article in yesterday’s Newburyport Daily News on Tuesday, February 21, 2006 on the Russell Terrace subdivision. The project is described as “the largest new housing proposal currently in the works.” (Now I sure hope that people from Russell Terrace and the Open Space Committee are going to help me out here, because I’ll admit, I just don’t begin to know all the details.)

The developer is Norbert Carey. For you out there who don’t live in Newburyport or have just recently moved here, on the controversy scale of 1-10 Norbert Carey would probably rate a 15, possibly a 25. We are talking major history here. The background on Norbert Carey would warrant a number of posts.

(What I am beginning to find is that many of the readers of the Newburyport Political Blog have moved here fairly recently and don’t know about the controversy surrounding Cherry Hill or the Access Road. Maybe there can be a few posts explaining those stories.)

Fortunately, fortunately because of the Newburyport Planning Board and the Newburyport Planning Director, yes, you guessed it, Nick Cracknell, and lots of other concerned citizens, we have a zoning ordinance that prevents the Russell Terrace project from becoming another Cherry Hill. The Newburyport Daily News writes that “The new cluster zoning law, called open space residential development, was designed to avoid large subdivisions such as the Cherry Hill project.

The new homes will be built on a cul-de-sac on about 8 acres of the 43-acre property. The remaining 35 acres, which include wetlands and abut other underdeveloped farmland, will be preserved as conservation land and protected by a land trust, under the special permit requirements.”

This is what I call “smart growth.” Thank goodness for the farsighted Newburyport Planning Board and Nicholas Cracknell, Newburyport’s Planning Director and all the other people on various city boards and committees and other involved citizens who contributed to the creation of this new zoning law.

But, obviously there are still problems–traffic, adjacent wetlands and animal habitat. I do not know the details, but there are plenty of people out there who do. So please, feel free to become a guest blogger on the Newburyport Political Blog.

It seems to me that, as I said in another post, Newburyport has become a very desirable place to live and people will move here and build, or live in places that have been built for them. As I see it, the trick is to find the right balance so that Newburyport continues to remain a place that we as residents can be proud to live in. This is a very complicated task. And as I’ve said over and over again, I think we are incredibly lucky to have people like Doug Locy and the Newburyport Planning Board and Newburyport’s Planning Director Nicholas Cracknell whose job it is to help us find solutions to those very complicated issues.

Mary Eaton, Newburyport