, Newburyport, MA

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April 15, 2014

Family faces danger, misery in shadow of bridge project

Abutters atop bridge project find daily hell from pounding, rattling


“There was a time, every day from six in the morning til whenever they stopped when the house would vibrate (violently),” Taylor said. “When you are a parent, you want to provide the best home you can for your kids. Here we were in this beautiful, waterfront enclave where it was very nice to live. A great place for the girls to grow up. And for almost a year now, at least one of them says; ‘Daddy, I hate where we live.’ And it breaks your heart. This is Amesbury, not Fallujah.”

“I hate it,” 8-year-old Sami Taylor said. “I want to move, I don’t like this. Light flashes through my window every single night. I can’t sleep.”

The Taylors bought the 2,247-square-foot riverfront condominium in 2003. Seven years later, plans for rebuilding the bridge began to take shape, along with plans to widen the highway.

According to city records, the Taylors’ home is assessed at $462,700, with a tax bill of just over $9,700.

Life in the “Problem House,” as it has become to be known, has become unlivable, according to Taylor. Before the project began, Taylor and his neighbors made a proposal to have the state take their property by eminent domain and then use it for a temporary staging area. The neighbors then proposed that the land could be donated back to the city to be turned into a park.

The state, however, said no land would be taken to fulfill the project, and so the neighborhood’s proposal was declined. Eventually the state took a 10-foot easement from the Taylors’ property, but not the property itself.

“I realize this is going to happen and that there are going to be some consequences to it,” Taylor said. “But at the same time, when you build something this large and it ends 25 feet from our house and the construction of it is 10 feet away from our house, I think that constitutes a full taking of our house. It is not just the easement that they took.

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