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May 22, 2013

Peabody residents consider rezoning

PEABODY — The plan to change the zoning in the Pulaski Street industrial park is aimed at easing the plight of nearby residents fed up with the noise and traffic it brings, according to city officials.

But some of those residents are holding their fire on the question of whether designating half the area for general business instead of industrial use deserves their unqualified support.

“I think (Community Development Director Karen Sawyer) has a got a good idea,” said John Surman. “But I want to go slow.”

“Our quality of life has been deteriorating,” said Lola Busta. But she isn’t sure she wants to change the zoning and said she needs more information. “We do intend to have a meeting of the neighborhood.”

Meantime, the plan, which awaits a recommendation from the Planning Board and a vote by the City Council, has drawn fire from some of the businesses currently operating inside the park. Donald Kelley of Wayside Trailer, for example, fears that it could drive some companies out of business by putting more restrictions on what they do.

City Councilor Rico Mello, however, sees it differently. He believes the change will allow the city to have more control over businesses inside the park by requiring a special permit, granted by the council, for some activities. Moreover, he hopes the change will inspire new sorts of companies to locate there.

Mello cites a nearby plumbing firm as a model of what he wants to see in the park; it’s an operation that has caused no problems for residents. He also hopes something productive can be done with land along the Waters River. “It is the only waterfront we have,” he said.

Residents who live near the industrial park have complained about some of the businesses.

“Some of them have been doing business on a Saturday at 2 in the morning,” Mello said. “Some of these people, they’ve got car carriers coming in during the day and early morning. ... This is a way to bring the area up to the times.”

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