Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Rezoning: CVS Storey Continued

Rumor has it that Rolling Stones guitarist Keith Richards cannot be killed by conventional weapons. Seemingly possessed of a similar immortality, this rezoning ordinance was reintroduced last night by Councillors Connell and Derrivan.  The fresh start was because the Council did not pass the ordinance within the prescribed time limit.  The proponents want to give it another try.  A change in zoning requires 8 votes of the 11 members.

I've gotten more constituent feedback on this than the meals tax, paid parking, wind turbine, and dogs combined.  Overwhelmingly that feedback is opposed to this change in zoning.  Some of that feedback, I think, is misguided; for instance, I don't think it's up to the City as to what business goes in there.  But I do think the City ought to have a say in what 'type' of business could be in there.  

I spoke last night with a list of reasons why I am against the rezoning.  There are good reasons to support the change particularly as it relates to open space.  I've been open to new information. It might but good for open space, the current property owners and and the developer, but I still feel as I did on November 14th that the traffic of an intense use on Storey Ave with an in-out on Storey only will be dangerous.  The proposed usage including a drive-thru pharmacy for the rezoned lots is too intensive for an already chaotic intersection.  The developer's ideas on traffic mitigation, essentially a suicide lane in the middle of Storey Ave., don't go far enough as far as I'm concerned.  As one constituent told me, this proposal turns purgatory into a full-fledged hell.  Turn into the Atria at 5:30pm, and pull out and take a left--this will be what like pulling out of a CVS...multiplied by many more cars.

And like Councillor Cronin, I feel that we need to take a longer harder look at the whole area. I'd be open to something like a zoning overlay which I think would be a good tool for an area which has many contrasting uses.

I don't have a problem with more discussion so I voted for the matter to be referred to committee.  Tropic Star has a track history of getting CVS projects approved in places like Amesbury, Salisbury, and Concord, New Hampshire.  I'm sure they can do better than this.

The original Council vote of Nov 14 is here.  Discussion on Storey Ave starts at 22:30ish.

The Daily News article from the beginning of the saga is here.
http://www.newburyportnews.com/local/x811213367/Council-blocks-rezoning




6 comments:

Hugh Keleher said...

Ed -- A tough one. Sooner or later, this area will be developed. The best thing will be to control that development. Keith would undersatnd.

Hugh K.

Deb Massa said...

Thank you, Ed. I agree that the city should be able to decide what type of business goes in there if they decide to rezone it. I'd be all for the rezoning if they were going to put something in there that the city needs. Storey Ave. has two pharmacies and five banks. We do not need another pharmacy and another bank. It's a waste of that space to put in something that will not enhance the needs of the city and its residents.

Auntie Kim said...

Thanks for speaking up at City Council on this and for your continued efforts to learn more.

Auntie Kim said...

Thanks Ed for speaking up at City Council. I appreciate your efforts to look more into this as you listen to your constituents as well.

Ann said...

Thank you Ed. This is the time to look at the overall traffic nigtmare, aka Storey Ave., is reviewed. New businesses will be built but controlled growth benefits residents and businesses.

Anonymous said...

Ed:

Thank you for continuing to keep us informed and to question this proposal. Given the current 113 traffic situation I also question another high traffic use, especially one involving quick in/out at peak traffic times.
Vicki Carr