In the last few weeks, residents have been spreading informational pamphlets and meeting notices door-to-door throughout the Brimbal Avenue and Montserrat neighborhoods and communicating through the Montserrat Neighborhood Facebook page.
DeAngelis said residents plan to ask the City Council to put the matter on hold so there can be a citywide public meeting to discuss the entire project, not just the narrow rezoning proposal that is before the council.
DeAngelis said there has been a “lack of transparency” on the project that has created a “sense of inevitability” among some residents that it will proceed no matter what residents say.
Brimbal Avenue resident Matt Kelsch said he didn’t know anything about the project until surveyors placed flags in his yard in anticipation of widening the road near Herrick Street Extension.
“At no point did (Scanlon) sit down with residents and say, ‘What can we do to make this work?’” DeAngelis said.
Asked about what he’s done to inform the public about the project, Scanlon noted that The Salem News has written several stories about it and that he’s had lots of conversations with residents.
“Anybody who’s ever called to talk about it, I’ve talked to them,” he said.
DeAngelis has also challenged Scanlon on the issue of how much the project would increase traffic on Brimbal Avenue, particularly a $20 million shopping plaza that would be built as a result of the first phase of the project.
In a letter addressed to residents, Scanlon said a traffic study has determined the plaza would generate an increase of 30 vehicle trips per hour during afternoon peak times and eight trips per hour during morning peak times.
DeAngelis said he is skeptical of those numbers, especially if the plaza includes a Whole Foods Market, which Scanlon has mentioned as a possibility.