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October 29, 2012

Compromise LHD, anti-demolition ideas floated

(Continued)

The handicapping is that the following councilors are in favor of the LHD: Ed Cameron, Barry Connell, Greg Earls, Allison Heartquist, Kathleen O’Connor Ives and Ari Herzog.

Against are Brian Derrivan, Tom O’Brien and Dick Sullivan Jr. Leaning against appear to be Bob Cronin and Tom Jones.

Well, leaning against this version, at least.

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Random quotes from the LHD meeting: From Leslie Eckholdt: “If we own a Rembrandt, we can’t change it or throw it away — a property right can be superseded by a community right.”

From Leon Friedman: After expressing concern about the presence of false information in the debate, Friedman said, “In my three minutes, I plan to discuss ....” The audience chuckled, with several correcting him by noting that each speaker was allotted just two minutes.

Then Derrivan, unofficially keeping time, chirped up, “Now you have one minute.”

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Also taking place at City Hall last week was the regular meeting of the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority, which heard a traffic study report from its hired consultant.

John Burke, former parking director of Portsmouth, N.H., stated that there is enough parking in the downtown to absorb the development of two commercial buildings that could include 30 to 35 condominiums.

The city would be losing some spots if park area is increased and structures on either side of the Firehouse Center for the Arts are built, but right now the city’s parking space is underutilized, Burke said.

The statement might have seemed counter-intuitive to those who seek a spot on a warm summer Saturday, but those who walk by the Merrimack River say that many spaces are empty on all but the busiest weekends.

Burke added that city officials should continue to seek more parking away from the river, perhaps through use of a (much-discussed) parking garage.

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