SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

November 4, 2013

Opponents mount petition drive

Group cites conflict of interest in plaza proposal

(Continued)

Parisella said he resigned from the firm on Oct. 18. He had worked there for 13 years.

“I felt it was important not to have even an appearance of a conflict of interest, so I left the firm,” he said.

Parisella is co-sponsor of a bill filed by Lovely that would allow the state and CEA Group to swap parcels of land on Brimbal Avenue.

The exchange would allow the state to start a $5 million project designed to improve traffic flow and safety around the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange. The City Council approved the land swap by an 8-0 vote on June 10. The swap must now be approved by the state Legislature.

“If a shopping plaza does go in there, let’s try to get the resources to improve Brimbal Avenue and the interchanges so we can rectify an already-difficult traffic situation,” Parisella said.

A hearing on the land swap bill is scheduled for Wednesday at 1 p.m. at the State House.

The public records request filed by the neighborhood group seeks all records related to the “design, funding, permitting and construction” of the Brimbal Avenue project dating back to 2005.

The request asks for any communications between the state Department of Transportation with the city, Parisella, Lovely, CEA Group, Northridge Homes, and the state Executive Office of Administration and Finance.

The entire Brimbal Avenue project is a $25 million proposal to revamp the interchanges around Brimbal Avenue and Route 128 in order to improve traffic flow and safety and also open up land for development on both sides of the highway.

The city has applied for $5 million in state funding for the first phase of the project. That work cannot begin unless the land swap takes place.

Public hearings on the project and shopping plaza drew hundreds of people. Many residents have said the shopping plaza, which would be anchored by a Whole Foods store, would make traffic worse and diminish the quality of life in the neighborhoods around Brimbal Avenue.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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