Now, on to Brimbal Avenue. The city has voted, twice, in favor of the rezoning. Most of the property in question is already zoned to allow for commercial development. Development will occur on this site regardless of the rezoning vote of Feb. 8. If the rezoning passes, the infrastructure improvements will eventually allow for the appropriate development of additional commercial property that will bring more tax revenues into the city than even the Cummings Center does today. If it is not approved, that development is not likely to occur, and the city will miss out on millions of dollars of new, badly needed revenue growth. If the rezoning is approved, the state will contribute $5.2 million in road and traffic improvements to deal with an already problematic area. If the rezoning does not pass, the state contributes nothing for improvements, commercial development proceeds, and the city will have to figure out how to pay for improvements on its own. Either way, there will be more traffic. I have lived about 1 mile from the proposed rezoning site for almost 30 years and experience firsthand the increased traffic with my daily use of Brimbal Avenue. I would rather have the state involved, and paying for a more substantial, proactive traffic mitigation plan, than let the inevitable commercial development to advance relying solely on the city’s resources to solve the traffic problems.
So, there are a lot of similarities between the Elliot Street rezoning of 19 years ago and the rezoning of Brimbal Avenue. Actually, one more thing has not changed. The citizens’ constant yearning for better schools, their demand for excellent city services and first-rate facilities, and a desire to live in a city that appropriately balances quality of life of its citizens with the need to pay for that quality. This is why I think the Brimbal Avenue rezoning makes sense for the citizens, all the citizens, of Beverly, and I strongly urge them to vote “yes” on Feb. 8.
Bruce F. Nardella is the former president of the Beverly City Council.