One of the things that I’ve been doing since I started the Newburyport Political Blog is mining different publications for information. And in the Newburyport Daily News, Monday March 6, 2006, tucked away on page A3 is a little ditty about Mayor John Moak and the Woodman Property on Storey Avenue.
The Woodman property is the 22 acres that sits across from the Port Plaza Shopping Center. The project that has been proposed by Seaport Village LLC is for 150 units, I believe in three buildings, two containing 38 units, one containing 36 units. ( I have gotten that information from a story written in the Newburyport Daily News on August 19, 2004. Do not take this information “to the bank,” please see disclaimer on all information on the Guidelines page of the Newburyport Political Blog.)
Previously, the City of Newburyport stepped in with an alternative plan that would buy the land and the project would only contain 10 dwellings, to include affordable housing. At the moment this is all up in the air, and the issue is in Land Court (all of that is for some other post.)
The Seaport Village has been filed under a state affordable housing law, Chapter 40B. The law allows developers to bypass all local zoning laws and there is no restriction on how high or how dense the project can be when a quarter of the units are set aside for affordable housing. This has been a nightmare for cities and towns all across the Commonwealth.
In Monday’s Newburyport Daily News, it sounds as if Mayor John Moak thinks that having this huge development might not be a bad idea. (The Mayor is forming a task force to look at the issue.)
I don’t know about you, but I don’t want my city to look like Danvers or Revere (please, no offense to Danvers or Revere.) I don’t want sprawl in Newburyport, Massachusetts, I want smart growth. I want us to be an historic seaport city with an historic character. I don’t want Newburyport to be yet another North Shore suburb and Route 95 pit-stop. (Is this the “vision” that Mayor Moak wants?)
The city cannot negotiate with any project that is Chapter 40B (what part of this does Mayor John Moak not understand.)
Does Mayor John Moak have any idea how many communities are fighting against 40B projects like this? (Amesbury and Chelmsford to name two. Chelmsford has a whole website against their project, as do a lot of other communities) All over the state there are citizens groups fighting the harmful effects of 40B projects. And if Mayor Moak doesn’t think that’s not going to happen here, especially when there looks like there is a possible positive solution at hand, the Mayor of Newburyport, Massachusetts is just kidding himself.
I do not know what Mayor John Moak could possibly be thinking here, but it gives me the willies. And out there in web-land, I hope it gives you the willies too.
Mary Eaton, Newburyport