With New England Development proceeding rather fitfully, comparisons are often being made with Nantucket. When it comes to land development, there are similarities. But while that off-shore resort is surrounded by ocean, we are not.
One image that constantly haunts me is poor Princeton, New Jersey. (Not poor as in wealth but in its desperate situation.) Suburban and urban sprawl has butted up against this beautiful community and there is nothing they can do about it because their border is very limited. There is heavy development, heavy congestion and then, as you cross into Princeton, a lovely University town. But they can’t keep out the negatives. They can’t keep out the water issue (lack of it, sewer over-stressing and flooding) They can’t even keep out the crime (rapes on campus and violent attacks) and many housing & social issues.
Because of it, their quality of life has steadily diminished.
In Newburyport, we HAVE to be concerned about the border communities – their well-being translates into our well-being. (Yes, even Salisbury and Seabrook!)*
One of the big issues is the preservation of the watershed (We are spoiled in that we have an abundance to the point that we distribute water to other communities.) One of the causes is our preservation of open spaces (The Green Zone). It doesn’t just preserve our quality of life with majestic views and create a sound buffer to Route 95, but keeps us from severe flooding and from watershed issues.
This has caused other communities to greatly envy Newburyport.
Well, another reason they can envy us just occurred over in Newbury.
A developer was going to put in extensive housing directly across from the State Police barracks on Scotland Road. This is home to the abandoned Chipman Silver Mine, an enormous wetlands and beautiful forested uplands. It also abuts a large wildlife management area, Martin Burns, where hunters frequently traverse.
THOSE WETLANDS ALSO FEED INTO THE ARTICHOKE RESERVOIR, OUR WATER SUPPLY!
Newbury which is financially broke couldn’t do anything about it.
Thankfully, this threat to far-away Newburyport has been resolved. Due to a hunting buffer-zone requirement; Massachusetts Fish & Wildlife are going to buy up this large tract except for a few homes to be allowed to be built near Scotland Road. A special thanks from all of us needs to go out to Pat Huckery of Save Martin Burns and Anne Gagnon, the Fish and Wildlife land acquisition agent who worked to make this happen.
Our water supply is protected, the historic mine is protected and a significant wildlife area is preserved.
WHO KNEW A BUNCH OF GUN-TOTING YAHOOS COULD DO SO MUCH FOR NEWBURYPORT!?! (Just teasing of course.)
* I can’t tell you how hard it was to write that!