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November 13, 2013

More than 4,000 sign petition against plaza

BEVERLY — The North Beverly Neighborhood Association delivered a petition with 4,422 signatures to City Hall yesterday, asking the City Council to reconsider its vote to rezone land on Brimbal Avenue.

At issue is a multimillion-dollar project planned to improve traffic flow and safety around the Brimbal Avenue/Route 128 interchange and fuel new development, including a proposed shopping center that has drawn strong neighborhood opposition.

The neighborhood association, concerned about increased traffic and the project’s impact on the area, collected 495 pages of signatures over the past two weeks and submitted them yesterday morning.

The petition asks the City Council to reconsider its rezoning vote, which paved the way for the project’s first phase, pending state approval.

If the council won’t change its vote, the issue would be put to Beverly residents via a ballot question in an upcoming election.

“We wanted to hit the pause button on this and let the whole city have an understanding on what’s involved,” said Dan DeAngelis, a Brimbal Avenue resident and member of the North Beverly Neighborhood Association.

“We feel that this particular issue, even though it sounds like a simple zoning change, (would be) a very large traffic enhancement for Brimbal Avenue. Its not the kind of thing that should be simply decided without the whole city deciding the impact that it’s going to have.”

DeAngelis said “dozens” of volunteers collected signatures from every ward and precinct in Beverly, knocking on doors and standing in front of shops. Residents were supportive, he said; some even reached out to the neighborhood association asking to sign the petition.

“Even people that weren’t fully in agreement with us, they felt it was important that the city had a chance to vote,” DeAngelis said. “We needed to get 12 percent of city voters, and the number we have is well in excess of that.”

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