NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

November 20, 2013

New vision of Salisbury Beach proposed

Beachfront owners present their own plan for beach center

(Continued)

The “Revised Vision for Salisbury Beach”

New as compared to the Thompson Group’s proposal, the Capolupo group’s current proposal is remarkably similar to a plan proposed by beach business and property owners during their negotiations with town officials to rezone the beach center nearly a decade ago. The rezoning, known as the Beach Overlay District, was approved by Town Meeting in May 2005 in hopes of fostering redevelopment of a beach center in need for remaking.

Many of those at Monday night’s meeting supporting the new vision were the same stakeholders who helped create the former vision, including Capolupo, Rob Osinski, Jay Gallagher, and Kevin Mulcahy.

Yet, there are changes in the new plan, including elevation alterations to contend with storm and flooding issues that have plagued Salisbury Beach and its center in recent years, as well as the new FEMA flood insurance maps and federal requirements for building along the country’s storm battered seacoasts.

And there is one major difference concerning who gets to build this new vision. Previously, a number of local land owners and business people hoped to redevelop beach properties. Now, that notion has been reversed. The revised proposal seeks one “well-heeled, master developer,” Capolupo explained, with pockets deep enough to spend the millions of dollars required to put all the land in the center under agreement, then hold on for what could be years as the project goes through a multi-level permitting process.

“The last thing we want is for this area to be redeveloped in a piecemeal manner,” he said.

The private sector development plan’s intent, when finalized, will be a unified design and “won’t bear resemblance to the Salisbury Beach of its heyday,” Capolupo said. The plan is not to rebuild the hotels, Ferris wheels, merry-go-rounds, nightclubs and an entertainment venue that could attracted the Frank Sinatras of the day.

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