, Salem, MA


January 1, 2014

Letter: Brimbal Ave. group responds to questions about upcoming vote

To the editor:

In preparation for the special election on Feb. 8, it’s important that voters have the information they need to make informed decisions regarding Phase 1 of the Brimbal Ave. project. I’d like to respond to Bailey Bishop’s letter regarding what a yes/no vote means on Feb. 8, because I’m sure many people will have similar questions.

Questions: 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?

Simply put, a “no” vote on Feb. 8 would change the zoning of the 3.67 acres of state-owned land back to its original IR zoning, so it would no longer be zoned for retail development. The developer, CEA group, has made it clear that unless the state-owned parcel of land is zoned for retail use, they are not interested in the land swap, so a “no” vote would effectively stop the land swap.

Question: 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?

If the rezoning that facilitates the land swap doesn’t go through, it would stop the $5 million interchange redesign from moving forward. We believe the proposed road project would have great negative impacts on Brimbal, its residents and residents throughout the city. Also, Phase 1 does not remediate traffic; it adds 300 extra cars per peak hour to Brimbal Avenue, and it doesn’t move Phase 2 any closer to completion. Simpler alternatives to road improvements should be considered. It is also worth noting that at this time, Phase 1 plans haven’t received 25 percent approval from the Department of Transportation.

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