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May 8, 2013

Heard Around Town: A contentious agreement at Beverly council meeting

BEVERLY — Sometimes people agree to disagree. And sometimes, they agree disagreeably.

That’s what happened at this week’s City Council meeting. In fact, everybody agreed so much they had to call the cops.

Stay with us, because it gets complicated. The first confusing part came when Beverly Main Streets and two residents who normally oppose the downtown group found themselves united in opposition to proposed changes to the city’s parking regulations.

Main Streets opposed the changes because it is concerned they might hinder downtown development. That made sense.

But why would residents who have fought development take the same position as Main Streets? That wasn’t clear at the meeting, so we asked them for an explanation afterward.

Pleasant Street resident Rosemary Maglio denied that she was agreeing with Main Streets. She said she opposes the proposed changes because they don’t go far enough in stopping development.

The other resident, Dana Acciavatti of Elm Street, acknowledged the next day that he didn’t fully understand the proposal and now thinks it might be a good idea.

The proposal in question, put forth by the city’s planning department, would curtail the practice of allowing new developments to use nearby public parking lots to satisfy the requirement for parking spaces.

Right now developers don’t have to put any parking on their site if it’s within 500 feet of a public lot. The new rule would make them account for at least half of the required spaces on their own lots.

Anyway, between all of the passionate agreeing, city officials at the meeting called police when Maglio kept interrupting other speakers and refused to quiet down. This was the second time in the last few years that police were called to a City Hall meeting to keep an eye on Maglio.

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