Tuesday, September 25, 2007


My guiding principle on development is that the public interest needs to be valued both short and long term. Public interest requires a vital, sustainable local economy both downtown and in our industrial areas that strengthens our tax base and provides jobs to local residents.

On the Waterfront and Downtown…
I am in favor of more park at the two dirt lots owned and managed by the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority retaining a limited amount of parking for senior and handicapped access. The riverfront is too valuable and precious to pave over and it would be a travesty of the highest degree to miss this opportunity.

Parking needs ought to be addressed by a comprehensive and inclusive process ---one process--- that includes all relevant stakeholders, not limited to abutters, but including the entire Newburyport community. In the past we have had countless studies, self-selected adhoc groups and processes. What we need is one process to move this along towards a comprehensive solution we can agree on. The citizens of Newburyport have spoken repeatedly on park/parking and our leadership needs to resolve this issue so that we can turn our attention to the ensuing development of Waterfront West by Steven Karp’s team.

In terms of Waterfront West, we need to work with the developer very assertively. We should not be waiting for a plan from the developer. We should be telling the developer what will be there in accordance with the Overlay District which was passed several years ago.

The Waterfront includes further up the river into Ward 4. We need a City Councillor who will monitor the upcoming Towle Riverwalk Condominiums project and who will push for more public access along the river.

Take a look at a passing and often empty Merrimack Valley Regional Transit Authority #51 bus and you will know that we need better planning.We need better connections between the commuter rail station, the Park and Ride on Route 95, and new/old ways of getting around like bicycles. For an example of a community which has embraced a more comprehensive approach to transportation and parking, we could learn from Portsmouth's approach, in particular how they operate a 'seasonal downtown loop.'

In the Neighborhoods…
I am in favor of the ‘infill’ ordinance passed by the City Council 10-1 in December of 2006 which balanced neighbors’ concerns with individual property rights. That ordinance did not prevent all future 'infill' nor am I in favor of banning 'infill' altogether. As many citizens have stated, "There is good infill and bad infill." That ordinance was rigorously discussed at the time, the community bought into it, and struck a good balance.

Senior Center
It’s long overdue, every other local community has one, and we need to move ahead. Mayor Moak has proposed a site which needs to be considered carefully by the Council. Any more delay is not acceptable.

Each of these topics is obviously lots more complicated! I'd welcome your comments.

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