I can’t tell you (yes, busy you!) how important it is that as many citizens as can manage need to be present during tomorrow night’s discussion on seven (7) new ordinances. Many of these ordinances are important and no, these are not slam dunk to be approved.
There is big money riding against one of the ordinances.
If the stench wasn’t so bad, we’d bring up some Occupy Boston people (Who claim to be against Big Money) to be present at City Hall. (Okay, we’ll have them stand outside and hope the wind is in the right direction.)
As I have already discussed (and hate to repeat myself), there are institutions and people in the background who would love to make our zoning ineffective. Due to a technicality, one of the major tenants of zoning was struck down during an appeal. With the Lot Width Dimension gone, developers and homeowners were able to get away with the fine example of a horror show at High & Woodland. A lot of people are upset but couldn’t put their finger on who was to blame. And everyone was pointing at the Planning Board, and ZBA and even the City Councilors; blaming them for allowing this to happen.
BUT THE ACCUSED NEVER SAW THE PLANS.
Since this ordinance was struck down, the projects became ANR (Approval Not Required). In fact, a lot of desecrations in Newburyport’s historic district never see the fluorescent light overhead of a single committee or commission. As long as it satisfies building code and zoning, the applicant can go right on ahead.*
This will of course not be allowed to happen at least for Downtown & High Street once the LHD passes. (But that’s another battle.)
But if this Lot Width Dimension Ordinance is put back in, then the city’s look and feel is maintained and those that have plans to violate must appear before the Planning Board and the ZBA to provide a pretty good justification.
We probably won’t be given an opportunity as the public to respond but our presence will mean we care enough to show up and lend our support!
* Which begs the question, “How does the building inspector keep his positive outlook and good mental health watching for more than 13 years, this historic seaport being decimated and gutted?”