To the editor:
I have followed the progress of the NRA proposal to redevelop the Newburyport waterfront with increased misgivings and apprehension. All the information that the NRA presents gives me the impression that their proposal is a take-it-or-leave-it proposition. It appears that further discussion is a distraction and inconvenience for the NRA. There are a number of valid and consequential areas to be further addressed by the NRA before a proposal of this size is executed, but I will focus on only two.
First, when will compliance with the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act be completed? It seems premature to imply that a proposal is ready for solicitation before completing the state and perhaps the federally mandated environmental assessment.
Second, when will the NRA complete a traffic study (not to be confused with a parking study) to determine if the Newburyport intersections can accommodate increased traffic. This proposal may trigger traffic mitigation such as additional street lights, intersection improvements or other road changes not to mention who will pay for these changes?
These two planning components (EA and traffic study) are always completed prior to contract award by the project proponent (CMR 301 11.05). This is to insure objectivity and unbiased assessment of negative impacts and identification of potential mitigation measures and their costs. Why is the NRA not taking this approach to ensure protection of the environment, regulatory compliance and identification of all project costs?