I don’t know if it’s the journalist strict code of fact-checking but it should not replace or cancel out logic. Seaport Village, LLC is as trapped by their legal pursuit as the City is as trapped by the horrible 40B law. The City took them to court because the first right of purchase for agricultural land gave a price based on 150 units. The Mayor can throw out a number and Seaport Village can be hedgy but it comes down to the danger of violating a ruling of the court.
Therefore, the developer group must stick to the original plan or all that expensive maneuvering would leave the City an open door to restart legal proceedings and again contest the price.
By pursuing all the way to the state Supreme Court, they have codified their plans into concrete. Since the price is based on the units built, I DARE THEM TO CHANGE IT.
Thus, when we take a look, we can have confidence that we are looking at what they are proposing. They can whine and say it’s not exact but I and the rest of the City would love to know the justification. “Keep talking,” we’ll say with a grin.
I will continue to dig until I find the 150 unit development proposal but here is a map to show the large amounts of wetlands present – Port Engineering assisted in laying out a wetlands delineation plan in the year 2000. The land outlined in red is the Storey Avenue land.
The wetlands through this area is extensive. As the courts have indicated: (My highlights)
Eleanor Woodman, as the trustee of the Eleanor J. Woodman Realty Trust (Woodman), owns two parcels of land in Newburyport that have been classified and assessed as agricultural or horticultural land pursuant to G.L. c. 61A.4 The property is fifty-five to sixty percent wetlands and, under the current zoning ordinance and subdivision regulations of Newburyport, the property may be divided as a matter of right into a maximum of two lots for use as single-family residences.
Here is more:
In addition, “there inheres in art. 99 of the Massachusetts Constitution and the implementing statute, G.L. c. 61A, a public policy to encourage agriculture and horticulture in the Commonwealth and to keep land free of construction not related to agricultural or horticultural purposes. That policy may not be defeated through the contrivance of bundling landowners and lots so as to confront a municipality with the choice of surrendering all its rights to keep land free of construction development or imposing on it more expenditure for land than it can prudently tolerate.” Ibid.
Finally, we concluded “that a landowner who, in accordance with G.L. c. 61A, applies for, and receives, classification of a particular parcel of land as agricultural or horticultural may not defeat the option of first refusal conferred in G.L. c. 61A, § 14, by inserting terms that require the municipality to acquire more than that particular parcel of land.” Id. at 218, 775 N.E.2d 1254.
– CITY OF NEWBURYPORT v. ELEANOR WOODMAN Appeal Court, March 17, 2011
Now according to the Newburyport Daily News on August 19, 2004, the Seaport Village LLC version is for 150 units consisting of three buildings, two containing 38 units, one containing 36 units.
Since this development is public record, I should be able to get my hands on the map for everyone to see.
Remember, it is legally set in stone.