, Salem, MA


February 4, 2014

Letter: Managing change in Beverly


Whole Foods Market signed a lease for this space shortly after the council approved the zoning changes.

My new favorite Beverly politician is Beverly City Council President Paul Guanci. Mr. Guanci has voted in lockstep with the previous mayor on nearly every vote taken by the council with one glaring exception: the last vote to change the controversial Brimbal Avenue zoning rules. He was admittedly concerned that the increased traffic in the area was a problem not only for the North Beverly residents but for the terminus points of Brimbal Avenue in North Beverly and at Montserrat Station. He voted against the zoning changes.

At last, a reasonable assessment.

In voting against the zoning changes, Mr. Guanci registered his opposition for increasing Brimbal Avenue traffic and continued his loyalty to the then-current mayor. He was reasonably assured the re-zoning measure would pass regardless of how he voted. The referendum tally is another question.

Alas, Mr. Cohen has warned Beverly voters that, should they vote against the Brimbal Avenue re-zoning in the special referendum election on Feb. 8 his Whole Foods Market anchor store would be doomed.

Not building a Whole Foods means less traffic on Brimbal Avenue.

While on the subject of bamboozles, I could never figure out how Mr. Cohen’s strip mall relates in any way to changing Brimbal Avenue access to Route 128. By what process do Route 128 access changes and the building of a commercial strip mall become part of the same discussion in which the city now becomes a partner?

Remember when the cornerstone of our Democracy was:

“Government of the People

By the People

For the People”

That cornerstone now reads more like

“Government of the Corporation

By the Corporation

For the Corporation”

How did our friends and neighbors in North Beverly get thrown under the bus by the city’s past and present elected and appointed officials? How did their needs and hopes and expectations get trampled upon? How were they left out of any reasonable access to the planning process? These are not unreasonable Beverly citizens. They are our neighbors, our friends, our fellow citizens. They were treated horribly in this whole affair. We were all treated horribly in this whole affair and the one hope and expectation that we all desire is for the new administration to heed the lessons to be learned here and manage change better than the previous administration.

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