“If we had a choice between a commercial development and a predominantly residential development, we would recommend the commercial development,” she said. “That really isn’t the choice here.”
Councilors and neighbors said they feared that this development, along with other residential projects planned along the canal, will create myriad problems in a tightly packed neighborhood with narrow streets.
“It’s all going to happen at ... the same time,” Ward 6 Councilor Paul Prevey said, “and that entire area is going to be gridlock.”
“I want to see the area get developed, I just think this is too much residential ...” Ward 4 Councilor Jerry Ryan said.
Councilor-at-large Arthur Sargent said a residential development this large is going to be a financial drain on the city.
Although less than half the 8-acre site is being used for housing, Sargent said the remaining sections are largely unusable. To make his point, Sargent used an eight-slice pizza as an analogy.
“We’re being left with the crust here for the commercial side, and it’s not worth eating.”
As one of the conditions to its approval, the Planning Board included an amendment that will allow for more commercial development on the site in the future. Currently, the only planned commercial use is in a vacant Salem Oil & Grease office building.
Tom Dalton can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.