NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Local News

August 27, 2013

Lack of data stalls Bailey's Pond hearing

AMESBURY — Discussions on the long-debated Bailey’s Pond project will drag out for at least another month after the project’s developers failed to respond to numerous requests for more information by the Planning Board, forcing the board to continue its site plan review and postpone its final vote.

Prior to the meeting, there was optimism that a vote might finally take place after more than a decade of wrangling between the Planning Board and the project representatives from Fafard Real Estate Development. The last meeting in July yielded a productive fact-finding session, and the hope was that Fafard would provide the board members with additional information to satisfy their remaining concerns.

When the meeting began, however, City Planner Nipun Jain listed off those concerns, and with few exceptions, he indicated that the project developers provided no new information to address them, leaving the board members with an incomplete picture of what the developers would actually do upon approval.

As a result, the Planning Board voted to continue the public hearing to its Sept. 23 meeting, which will be held in the City Hall auditorium at 7 p.m. In the meantime, Jain said he would be consulting with the city’s legal counsel to make sure the motion the board eventually votes on, along with its many conditions, all fall within the city’s laws and regulations.

The issues unaddressed by the project developers included questions about open space compliance, parking and traffic concerns, and details surrounding how the developers would re-grade large portions of the site, among many others. Jain also indicated that a number of tasks that would require special permits, including the introduction of more than 100,000 cubic yards of fill to the site, had not been filed either.

In regard to the special permits, project manager Donald Seaberg said that the developers wanted to wait after receiving Planning Board approval to apply, since if the project were rejected, there would be no need for the permits anyway.

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