Monthly Archives: September 2013

The North Beverly Neighborhood Association has formed

Using the Montserrat Neighborhood Group as an example, Cathy Burack, Dan DeAngelis, Matt Kelsch and Josh Morris have created the North Beverly Neighborhood Association (NBNA).  All are welcome to join. In the short term the group will serve as a way to keep residents informed about the interchange.  Also Josh, Matt, Dan and Cathy see it as a way for neighbors to meet one another, exchange information, work with other neighborhood groups, and to have some fun!  If you’d like to join, please send an email with your contact information to NorthBeverlyNeighbors@gmail.com or click here.

Mayoral Candidate Mike Cahill writes open letter to residents

“As a candidate for Mayor who wants to lead our city into the future, I believe it is important to make my thoughts on the Brimbal Avenue project clear to you, the voters.  I want to lead our city into the future.  Had I been Mayor before now, I would have handled this project very differently.  I would have reached out to the surrounding neighborhoods, and to the entire community, long before now.  I would have invited everyone concerned to engage in a transparent discussion and  dynamic process to develop a strong plan.  A plan that would:

  • Improve traffic safety
  • Identify and pursue appropriate economic growth for our city
  • Address, minimize, and mitigate short and long term impacts on our neighborhoods

I would have done things differently because of who I am.  I believe in a democratic process.  I believe in the people of Beverly, our collective abilities, and our commitment to the betterment of our whole community.

NOTE: One of my opponents, Ward Councilor Slate, has a voting record on this project.  In February 2009, he voted in favor of rezoning part of Brimbal Avenue to allow the CEA Group the opportunity to build their retail plaza.  In June 2013, he voted to request that the State Legislature approve the land swap between the CEA Group and the state on the parcel of land that is now the subject of the Mayor’s rezoning request to the City Council.

On balance, I support the Brimbal Avenue project.  The traffic safety improvements and the additional city revenues that economic growth will bring are greatly needed to keep police, firefighters, and public works personnel on our streets and teachers in our classrooms, and to address our many capital needs.  Managed properly, Beverly will greatly benefit from this project.

Specifically, I support the rezoning of the state parcel (the issue currently before the City Council).  The CEA Group’s current parcel of land is already zoned this way, and it appears they intend to develop it even if the rezoning of the state parcel does not pass.  If that happens, we may end up with a new retail plaza without the benefit of the state funded new traffic safety improvements.

If the CEA Group does try to develop their plaza, I commit to work with you.  Together, we will determine what traffic mitigation measures will best help the surrounding neighborhoods.  I will bring these measures to the Planning Board, which can require the developer to implement appropriate mitigation measures as conditions of approving their development.  I will also explore whether the zoning in this area is appropriate or whether we should pursue future zoning changes to prevent additional future retail development along this stretch of road.

I am listening to your concerns with this project.  I am determined and committed to working hand in hand with you over the next several years to address your concerns.  We need the long term safety improvements and the economic growth this project can bring, and we need to preserve the quality of life in the North Beverly and Montserrat neighborhoods.

We need to do this right.  We will solve the challenges together, and we will move forward.  If you elect me Mayor, I will reach out to you immediately.  I will include you.  You will be respected and valued; your input will be listened to, and it will be incorporated whenever possible.  We will ensure that this project does benefit our community for years to come.

Michael P. Cahill
28 Foster Drive, Beverly
Michaelpcahill3@gmail.com

Now that the Planning Board has made their recommendation…

Hi everybody- Thank you all for your fantastic involvement!

The City Council now has up to 90 days to vote on the zoning change. They also must approve by a 2/3 majority which means we have to get 4 councilors to vote against it. The next regular meeting of the City Council will be Monday Oct 7.  The Planning Board recommendation will probably be referred to the Legal Affairs Committee at that meeting. Legal Affairs must vote on it and return their recommendation to the full Council. That can be done in the same meeting if they so choose. Legal Affairs is chaired by Councilor Slate, and the other two are Councilor Troubetaris and Councilor Dullea. Councilor Slate will not allow public discussion in Legal Affairs, although the Chair has the right to do so if he/she wishes to  according to the Open Meeting Law.

We need to keep up the pressure on the Council.  All is not lost yet!  Call or e-mail your councilor and all Councilors at large urging them to vote against the zoning change. See list below.

Last evening Councilor Schetzsle said that he is proposing an amendment to the IR Overlay District ordinance which would eliminate the possibility of drive-thru restaurants by Special Permit. We should work with Councilor Schetzsle to support that.

Planning Board votes to recommend zoning change

As expected, the Planning Board voted unanimously to recommend that the City Council go forward with the proposed rezoning of the IR parcel to IR overlay, to allow the land swap with CEA, the private developer, to go forward. After hearing 6 hours of public comments, questions, and statements overwhelmingly in support of retaining the zoning, the only comment made by a member of the Planning Board (Co-Chair Thompson) was this will mitigate traffic, allow potential development and is in best interests of City as a whole. There was no discussion otherwise. The entire Planning Board meeting took just a few minutes, and the vote occured at 12:30AM. Approximately 300 people attended the hearing. This decision is not the end, see what we need to do next.

Serious budget questions have been discovered

The Mayor’s office applied for a waiver from the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs to enable them to go ahead with Phase 1 without completing the Mass Environmental Protection Agency (MEPA) process for the project. This was granted to them on August 2, 2013, based on the assumption that the project had funding. Here is the Waiver Certificate. Take a look at the bottom of Page 3. 15065eenf

Here’s what it says,” The requirement to file an EIR prior to Phase 1 will constitute an undue hardship because would likely lose allocated funding from the MassWorks Infrastructure Program, thereby jeopardizing its ability to construct the Phase 1 project.”

Why did they say that? Because the city said it had the funding.

The specific line is on page3 of the July 11 Memorandum that the city wrote in response to MEPA’s comments on the waiver request. They state, “The City of Beverly submitted a successful application to the MassWorks Infrastructure Program for both design ($500,000) and construction ($5 million) of Phase 1. Without a Phase 1 Waiver available funds from the MassWorks grant program would be lost indefinitely or perhaps permanently and would result in undue hardhip for the City of Beverly and the Commonwealth. Without funding, the safety and access issues that are independent of the full-build project cannot be implemented.”

Even the Salem News reported this outcome.
Here’s the rub…the city never got the $5 million. The waiver was granted based on false information.

If you go to the Massworks website you will see that the City of Beverly received a $500,000 grant in the 2012 grant round for design and engineering of the 128 exit 19 interchange. The City may have APPLIED FOR THE $5 MILLION THEN, BUT OBVIOUSLY DID NOT GET IT. The City has only just applied on Sept 13, 2013 for the $5 million and does not currently have it. The city has not been “awarded” the money yet. Massworks will review all the applications from across the state and announce the decision in eight weeks. It’s interesting that in looking over the previous years winners the highest amount awarded is in the $2-$3 million range with a strong majority of awards being $1 million or less.

Contact the City Council and let them know how you feel.

The vote will be October 7th, and the meeting is planned for Beverly High School.  It’s important that you let all of the Councilors know how the proposed plan for Brimbal Ave will negatively impact the quality of life in our neighborhoods, and all we are asking for is time to create a better one.  Here is the list of Councilors and their contact information:

Paul Guanci, Chair, At-Large 54 Cross Lane  978-922-7620
Maureen Troubetaris, Ward 1 20-A Davis Road  978-927-5681
Wesley Slate, Jr., Ward 2 26 Lothrop Street  978-927-4844
James F. Latter, Ward 3 145 Park Street  978-921-8874
Donald G. Martin, Ward 5 27 Berrywood Lane  978-927-8888
Scott D. Houseman, Ward 4 27 Appleton Avenue  978-927-3627
Brett Schetzsle, Ward 6 423 Essex Street  978-998-4510
Jason C. Silva, At-Large 56 Dane Street #2  978-927-0197
D. Scott Dullea, At-Large 36 Dane Street  978-922-3673