NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

February 26, 2013

Port boards to discuss development, grants

NEWBURYPORT — The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to meet tonight at 7 at City Hall, and one item on its agenda is continuation of a public hearing to review plans for the proposed Newburyport Ale House at 40 Merrimac St.

In a separate meeting scheduled tonight at 7 at the police station conference room, 4 Green St., the Community Preservation Committee will discuss 2014 grant applications.

The ZBA session is a continuation of an earlier public hearing for a change of use for the property.

Until recently it housed Davis Auto Parts; its new owner, Joseph Leone, is seeking to convert the structure to a bar-restaurant with close to 600 seats.

Tonight’s hearing relating to 40 Merrimac St. is scheduled to hear a “special permit for non-conformities” to “allow an upward extension of pre-existing non-conforming setbacks.”

Other public hearings on the ZBA calendar tonight involve matters at 59 Storey Ave., 351 High St., 2 Forrester St. and 13 65th St.

The Community Preservation Committee tonight is slated to discuss 2014 grant applications.

The committee dispenses grants each year to organizations seeking funds relating to recreation, open space, historical preservation and public housing.

Committee members are expected to choose dates when it will hold public meetings to hear the requests of applicants.

The CPC program was created in 2002 when local voters approved a 2 percent surcharge on real estate taxes for all property owners so that it can earmark funds for local groups. State officials provide matching funds in October.

Last year, the committee dispensed about $762,000. It received requests worth a total of $1.4 million.

Over the last decade, the committee has made awards totaling about $5.9 million to local groups, city officials say.

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