SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

October 1, 2013

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

(Continued)

3. Procedural questions will come back to bite us if we don’t take time to address them now.

Procedural questions abound, and one, for example, has already been brought to the attention of state agencies. That particular one has to do with the city’s receipt of a waiver that was granted by the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs based on false information contained in the city’s application. And there are others with regard to how decisions were made with CEA regarding the land swap, the application to MassWorks for funding, and more. These need to be addressed now rather than burdening new city leadership with a potentially litigious mess.

4. This is a tremendous opportunity for Beverly, and there are hundreds of people who can make it work.

The Planning Board, on Sept. 19, after quietly sitting through three public hearings attended by more than 500 people, held what was likely the shortest meeting in its history in order to vote in support of the zoning change, despite hours of hearing their neighbors speak against it. In their rush to ram this project through before the election, Planning Board members ignored their basic charge — to plan. This should not be about spot zoning and meeting the needs of one developer. Smart planning takes time. Had the Planning Board been listening, it would have heard people nearly screaming to be allowed to donate their knowledge and expertise — people who are city planners, engineers, local business owners, realtors, parents, cyclists, to name a few. It is foolish not to take advantage of this offer in light of the magnitude of this project. If our elected representatives vote to respect the public process on this major initiative and allow time for the residents who will be most impacted to have input into the final plan, you will find that there is a large part of the overall Brimbal interchange plan — perhaps even the majority of it — that many residents would support, if only their concerns were given equal weight to those of the developer, and the city’s need for new growth dollars.

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