Why Dark Siders are Dark

Some how – even though I have been very careful in my definition – there has been this strange concept that Dark Siders are evil, bad, wicked, etc.      

Sorry – sure, some may do acts that are just that but by and large these are our fellow law-abiding, tax paying, neighbors.


Fowles - Art DecoThis whole business of the Fowle’s Café and their impromptu petition.       It just went ‘missing’ – there – the deed is done.      The thing that could have potentially rallied the community to stop the historic character of our Downtown from being eroded.    To be sure, no one will ever step forward and say, “I did it.”     

A short time ago, a developer wanted to take the Wheelwright House, subdivide the land in the back for development; an impromptu statue of ‘The Desecrator” was put up in The Desecratorprotest.     And then, it simply vanished before it could be used to rally local citizens and energize historic preservationists.        Again, no one will ever step forward and said, “I did it.”

Dark Siders are not a vain group seeking public recognition.       Keeping their actions out of the public eye is a number one priority.     

Public hearings are anathema* to them.

As they say in the espionage movies, ‘Plausible Deniability”.        First, they don’t want to admit they do things behind our backs – in fact, even the existence of dark siders is often denied.

Take for example, this strange idea of hiding a momentous Tripartite Agreement between the land owner, the developer and the city.       Which dark sider suggested the idea of, “Let’s not tell anybody about it.”    Even as recent as Wednesday, most councilors hadn’t even read it let alone have a copy.

Which dark sider suggested to the Planning Director, “When you come before the subcommittee, just isolate the proposal and call out for a simple ordinance change.” (Even though the momentous Tripartite Agreement had been signed, sealed and in writing in the Planning Office for awhile.)

Which dark sider suggested to the Planning Board and to Councilor Derrivan, “Just submit this in for consideration without any reference to a potential development.”

In Newburyport’s past, this kind of tactic would have worked.         But of course, back then, there was no Site Plan Review Ordinance.       The developer would have quietly worked his way through the boards and commissions, received eventual approval and ‘tah dah’; we’d all hear about it in the Daily News fait de compli.         Dark Siders, you see, still like to live in the past.

FORTUNATELY, WE DO NOT LIVE IN THE PAST. (I just looked, there is no outhouse in my backyard and the street in front of my house isn’t filled with mud!)     

How much better it was to have the public input at the Committee of the Whole – I know so much now just attending that I could fill up twenty posts on what was covered.     And you could feel from the atmosphere in the room – everyone was looking for real solutions.


And more public hearings!

-P. Preservationist

* Definition:  someone or something intensely disliked or loathed.     The etymology came from the curse that the Pope or Church Council would apply to heresies or in the act of excommunication.


About P. Preservationist

Dedicated to the Enrichment & Preservation of Newburyport
This entry was posted in Developers, News and politics, Planning, Zoning. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Why Dark Siders are Dark

  1. Kim Kudym says:

    Also, most darksiders are motivated by money…CVS has lots of it, including some to line pockets. What a prime location to make so much more directly across from the Park and Ride!

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