NewburyportNews.com, Newburyport, MA

Opinion

October 28, 2013

Is there truly 'gold' in that 'triangle'?

A recent Wednesday evening (Oct. 9) realized the much-anticipated debate between Amesbury’s incumbent mayor and his reasonably newly arrived challenger. No surprise, the city’s heavy (outrageous?) real estate tax burden was an early and paramount issue. The challenger averred that reduction of the burden was Job One. The incumbent countered that the tax rate was really not an outlier when compared to other municipalities across the state.

Indeed, when the issue is manipulated to comparative averages, means, medians and modal values, the figures can be made to appear leavened. Yet, the stark reality is that Amesbury’s real estate tax onus is a heavy impediment to buying and selling homes in the city. Briefly mentioned in the debate was the existence of a Golden Triangle (GT), an apparent “golden” opportunity to broaden the industrial tax base. The incumbent declared that the city (we’re still getting comfortable with that designation) had done what it could (e.g., amenable zoning changes) to facilitate development of the luscious parcel; and now it was time for the private sector to step up. A clear inference was that the challenger (touting his roots in the private sector) was perhaps the presence to catalyze development.

Some 11 years ago we moved across the river from Newburyport, speculating that the recently renewed rail head would spur (pun intended) population growth in capacious Amesbury because Port City was all filled up; hence, we would be part of a residential growth boom with all the attendant attractions of a town on the move. Early on, we heard mention of this mystical Golden Triangle. Investigation of this geometrical, geological phenom revealed a 100-plus-acre parcel anchored by its base formed by Route 110 and Elm Street and its two remaining sides bounded by I-495 north and I-95 south, respectively, affording superb exposure and proximity to major traffic lanes for industrial enterprise(s) seeking high profile and ready access to travel lanes.

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