The Daily News has let down all the readers when it came to the joint City Council/Planning Board meeting. They don’t tell you that just before the meeting, a finding done last May by the City Solicitor on the whole issue was "found". Not only that, many in attendance still did not have a concrete document in their hands from the City Solicitor and Emily McCourt had to awkwardly pass out the findings just before the consideration.
I have lived long enough in this City to find my conspiratorial suspicions to be often justified. Here ws a meeting with repeated public hearing notices and yet this information was not granted. The Planning Office had no choice but to make no opinion, especially when they found out that if the ordinance was passed as zoning, Mr. Germinara would still be allowed to keep his truck obscuring the sites around Newburyport! If the ordinance is passed as a general ordinance then he would have to stop! It was a no brainer. "Proceed no Further!"
Second, as much as Councilor Connell has a background in Urban Planning, there was no assembled body of information to support the ordinance. Newburyport is not an island, there are plenty of cases of restrictions on such odious signage. Apparently, he was expecting a Back Bay Neighborhood-style group to come to his aide. I’ve already mentioned how useful the historic preservationists are on this issue.
We will need a credible case in support of such a change.
The Daily News can hope that it just goes away but I see it as a test case to champion the importance of ‘aesthetics’ to the economic health of the city. If lost, at the least, it will cause the city to loose its focus on where it’s ‘ bread and butter’ is.
I assure you, let the "Dark Side" who see no value in aesthetics win and the City will suffer financially.
As a side note, I disagree comparing Mr. Germinara with Bossie Gillis. Historic preservationists would be just as opposed to the urban renewal that was initially planned for the downtown and would have gladly stood with old "Bossie". Remember, the initial desire was to sweep away the old and build all "new". "New" by the way is like "State of the Art". It doesn’t take long before new becomes old and the latest technology becomes ‘old’ technology.