, Salem, MA

Brimbal Ave. Opinions

January 17, 2014

Letter: Brimbal Avenue project is 'better for Beverly'

To the editor:

The Salem News recently published a thoughtful letter from Bailey Bishop (”Be informed when voting on Brimbal Avenue,” Dec. 28), which asked important questions about the Feb. 8 referendum vote regarding Brimbal Avenue in Beverly. The North Beverly Neighborhood Association attempted to answer Mr. Bishop’s questions, but the answers in their letter were tainted with misleading misinformation. As president of CEA, the owner of the industrial site affected by the referendum, I’d like to reply accurately to Mr. Bishop’s questions:

Mr. Bishop asks what the consequences will be of a “no” vote:

It will override zoning decisions made by the Planning Board and the City Council.

The land swap between CEA and the state will not take place.

CEA will develop the 6.4 acres of commercially zoned land that it already owns.

Whole Foods will no longer be part of the CEA development.

Commercial development and employment will still continue to grow in this industrial area.

Traffic will increase substantially in the years to come.

Bottom line: The neighborhood will end up with the worst of all worlds — more development and more traffic, but without the state-funded road improvements to manage it.

In replying to Mr. Bishop’s questions, the North Beverly group made some terribly inaccurate statements related to the former landfill use of this land. The citizens of Beverly are entitled to clear, straight, reliable information on this subject:

When CEA purchased this land from the Archdiocese of Boston in 2005, both state and city officials offered encouragement and support in the hope that this former landfill would be returned to productive use and to the city’s tax base.

Cleaning up former landfill sites and returning them to productive use is a high priority of the environmental movement. It was this “green” agenda that motivated CEA to purchase and develop this site in the first place.

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