NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

December 31, 2012

Looking ahead to 2013

The new year will soon be upon us, and numerous municipal issues will be addressed in 2013, including the following:

NRA acreage on the waterfront: The Newburyport Redevelopment Authority is scheduled to move forward on its plan to create more park space on the river while developing two commercial buildings to pay for the park and its upkeep.

An outline of a plan was presented in September at the Firehouse and the majority of the earnest audience expressed satisfaction with the proposal.

The NRA is in the process of creating a Request for Proposals that will go out to developers.

No date for the extension of the RFP has been finalized, and the five-member NRA board has not decided whether to sell or lease its 4.2 acres.

James Shanley, head of the NRA, said his team wants to hear from developers on how they view the matter of sale versus lease.

The Local Historic District: A recent City Council vote on the first reading of an LHD ordinance revealed scant support for a residential LHD. However, councilors in coming weeks are scheduled to consider protections for the commercial downtown and a demolition-delay measure.

City officials say that planning and zoning regulations here provide little protection for architectural guidelines should property owners in the downtown wish to make changes or initiate new construction.

Still, close to a half-dozen (of 11) councilors seem inimical to more regulation, so it is unknown whether new measures will be approved in 2013.

Sewer and water systems on Plum Island: This matter did not receive much attention in 2012, but the potential toppling of several houses on the beachfront in Newbury propelled it back into the governmental conversation in recent weeks.

The city of Newburyport is actually the supervising agency for both Newburyport and Newbury when it comes to making sure sewer and water systems are functioning.

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