NEWBURYPORT — A measure to rezone two small parcels on Storey Avenue from residential to business will move on to the City Council for review.
The Planning and Development Committee voted 2-0 to send the measure on to the full council following a brief public hearing last night.
Only two members of the three-person panel were present: Kathleen O'Connor Ives and Brian Derrivan. Panel chairman Barry Connell was absent due to health issues.
If the news sounds repetitive, it is. A similar measure was approved last fall, but the City Council did not act on the rezoning proposal before the end of the year, and thus, the measure has to begin its procedural journey again.
Executives of the prospective development firm, Tropic Star Development LLC, have said that if the land is rezoned, they would plan to put a CVS pharmacy and a bank branch in that area.
Unlike in past committee sessions, some of which were packed to overflowing, only a handful of residents attended last night's hearing. It was over in 29 minutes.
Two residents who live in the Clipper Way and Woodman Way area of the city adjacent to the property expressed concern about increased traffic congestion from a potential development, but Ives said that's an issue for the council to address.
Officials said the land is not well suited for residential use at this time, and that approving the rezoning could result in the city acquiring about 19 acres of open space as part of the deal.
Committee members said that both the Planning Board and Planning Director Andy Port has recommended approving the rezoning measure and sending it to the council.
The rezoning proposal likely will be in the hands of the council at its April 30 meeting.
In a separate matter, the Planning and Development Committee approved a conservation restriction that tentatively gives about 36 acres of land to the city for open-space use.
Springwell Investments is developing a 24-unit residential neighborhood off Russell Terrace Extension. As part of the approval process, the developer agreed to cede 35.95 acres to the city for open space.
That land would be administered by Essex County Greenbelt Association. If the paperwork is finalized, it could be used by the public for hiking, cross-country skiing, horseback riding and similar activities.
Committee members also voted to send the proposed conservation restriction to the City Council for its consideration, perhaps at its April 30 meeting, as well.