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May 17, 2013

Peabody industrial park objects to zoning change

(Continued)

“This area has been industrial for the past 150 years,” explained Veikko Huuskonen, also of Wayside. He noted that the site predates the arrival of the homes which are currently the source of so many complaints.

“The proposed zoning,” said Kelley, “is much more restrictive than the existing zoning. It would essentially legislate a number of businesses out of business.”

Under the plan, said lawyer Jack Keilty, representing a company that parks buses on the site, every modification attempted in the business zone will now require the company to go to the City Council for permission. “If that’s not necessary we’d rather not have to do it,” he said.

Further complicating the situation for the businesses, the area is currently considered a Department of Environmental Protection site, with worrisome materials in the soil. Consequently, said Huuskonen, according to the law nothing involving children could be contemplated in the business zoned area.

It calls into question whether any benefit to property owners could be gained by restricting the area to general business, Huuskonen suggested. Additionally, he argued, no infrastructure, not even sidewalks, exist in the area that would be open to business.

“I don’t see the city talking about how they’re going to improve the area,” he said.

The Planning Board hearing has been rescheduled for June 20, according to Sawyer. The City Council, however, will have the ultimate say as to zoning changes.

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