Eleanor Woodman gets 2.5 million dollars IF the city re-zones two small parcels. And I certainly don’t begrudge the deal that was worked out. In fact, as recently as the last few days, it looked good for the re-zoning to go through. Everybody, even the anti-CVS crowd, would have benefited: secured open space to provide farming and prevent increased flooding downstream, improved traffic safeguards on Storey Avenue which can handle increased commercial developments, nature trails and of course, Tropic Star could proceed to increase our tax base and make some money. YES, EVERYONE WINS.
But Eleanor couldn’t settle for that – she had to grasp for more money!
The courts have admitted that any developer not using 40B money, could barely build two buildings on this lot. By invoking a purchase and sale agreement with Seaport Village, LLC, she can grab another 1.8 million dollars.
The whole court case concerned the city paying 1.8 million to secure agriculturally-zoned land that is very soggy. The value is based on the lost revenue of a very-wet 40B project proposed instead of the actual assessed value. Now, according to Joe Teixeira, the chair of the Conservation Commission, new state-revised wetland laws will make even a 40B impossible to be permitted for this area. That maybe so, but I don’t have faith in a state that is known for corruption, a loose-justice system and ignoring the laws.
Does the city do some brinkmanship, counting on the project being barred on the wetlands issue? Or, does the City take its taxpayer funded Open Space Fund and leverage for a purchase of this vital land? Whether the City takes the land or Seaport Village builds a 40B; Eleanor gets 1.8 million and NOW possibly on the taxpayer’s dime! If a 40B goes in there, greatly expanding the impervious surfaces of the upper Common Pasture and next to another impervious surface, the Landfill; the newly-named Newburyport Business Park is wide open to damaging flooding. And don’t forget the hapless residential neighborhoods downstream! And consider the added pressure on our school system and our infrastructure!
Do we re-zone the two lots giving Eleanor 2.5 million dollars to fight in the courts for yet another close to 2 mill? Or, do we let the land lay fallow and deprive her of the cash she so dearly wants?
If she and Seaport Village had been cunning (Thank God for blindly-greedy businessmen!) they would have said nothing until the city council vote.
Now, she will probably lose any chance at her age to get a dime – and more fighting in the courts and boards – and with the state in DEP deliberations for years.
I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PROFIT TAKING – BUT I HAVE A PROBLEM WHEN TO DO SO, THEY DELVE INTO THE WALLETS OF THE CITIZENS OF NEWBURYPORT!
This is a deal killer for the Storey Avenue re-zoning – in the end, she will probably get nothing!
PS. You thought the Axe the Access Road was contentious – get ready for more political fighting!
PPS. If I was Tropic Star, I would sue the landowner for blowing this deal!