, Salem, MA


October 1, 2013

Letter: Why the Beverly City Council should vote no on Brimbal rezoning

To the editor:

On Oct. 7, the Beverly City Council will be voting on whether or not to approve a zoning change that will allow CEA to develop a shopping center on property it owns on Brimbal Avenue. That zoning change, if it were to occur, sets off a chain of events that includes a land swap and construction of a new interchange. Here are four reasons why the City Council should vote against it:

1. CEA, the developer doesn’t care a whit about Beverly (nor should they).

CEA’s goal is to make the greatest profit they can from its initial investment in an undeveloped parcel of land in North Beverly. And, not surprisingly, they are doing everything they can that will enable them to do just that. The majority of the people who ARE supposed to be the stewards of Beverly’s well-being by ensuring that the plan doesn’t adversely impact the surrounding community and that the plan fits with Beverly’s planning and zoning standards will be leaving their elected and appointed positions in a matter of weeks. The mayor, the Planning Board and the majority of the City Council are rushing to make decisions, and their decisions are not thoughtful ones. There is no date driving this, no $5 million in hand. This is largely a lame-duck mayor’s final agenda, and it’s being executed poorly.

2. The proposed traffic plan is flawed.

Jacobs Engineering was charged with redesigning an interchange at Exit 19, and so they did. Sadly, the area they focused on is only a very small section of Brimbal Avenue. The plan they created ignores Budleigh Avenue, the surrounding neighborhoods, and the fact that Brimbal and Budleigh essentially dead end at Essex Street on one end and Dodges Row at the other. Brimbal and Budleigh will bear the burden of the traffic headaches that are certain to arise, and yet, except for the short stretch in the proposed plan, are largely residential streets. Rather than alleviate traffic headaches on theater nights and create a smooth flow once CEA develops its property, they created a system that will create backups and cause commuters to use neighborhood roads as shortcuts. Their plan simply won’t work as it is currently conceived.

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