, Salem, MA

December 28, 2013

Letter: Be informed when voting on Brimbal Avenue

The Salem News

---- — To the editor:

I often struggle with a desire to keep things as they are and the need for an often inevitable change. This affects me in no area more than that of land development. It pains me to see nearly every available parcel of land in Beverly being under or considered for development. I understand, however, that population growth, the need for tax revenue or personal economic benefits, the desire for amenities close to home often make development attractive or even necessary.

I will cast a vote on Feb. 8 in regard to the Brimbal Avenue proposal but want to be fully informed when I make my decision, just as I try during local and national elections for office. I encourage all my Beverly friends, neighbors and citizens to do the same. I need some help, however, some questions answered that I have not found clear to date, and expect I am not alone. I will likely have more questions to come that I hope to have answered clearly before the special election, but here is a start:

Is the vote simply a “yes” or “no” vote for or against the zoning change on said 21/2 acre parcel of land owned by the city?

Would a “no” vote by the majority of voters stop the proposed land swap of this 21/2 acre parcel with the developer?

Would a “no” vote by the majority of voters prevent the proposed $5 million state project to redesign the interchange between Route 128 and Brimbal Ave from moving forward?

Would a “no” vote by the majority of voters stop the development of the land on Brimbal that includes a proposed Whole Foods?

Can the proposed $20 million state project that includes building a new bridge over Route 128 with access to Dunham Road, the music theater and potentially developable land on either side of the highway, with potentially less impact to residential neighborhoods, proceed without the $5 million Brimbal interchange project occurring?

What I am really trying to get at is, will the development on Brimbal proceed regardless of the outcome of this vote? If so, I need to decide whether the proposed changes designed to make exiting Route 128 on the northbound side safer will have a potentially greater negative impact on Brimbal and its residents than leaving the road as is. Also, can the new overpass project occur without the proposed Brimbal interchange project happening? If not, I’ll need to think about the implications for possible future development in that area with seemingly less impact to our existing neighborhoods, development that may be necessary somewhere in town, at some point, to support our city’s economics.

Bailey Bishop