, Newburyport, MA


June 25, 2013

The folly of the Terrasphere agreement


Farard controls this property but they haven’t take possession because as soon as they do, they will have to start paying the taxes. They won’t take title until they get numerous zoning variances to allow them to maximize their own profit by crowding in a huge apartment/condo project that will result in the maximum burden on the neighborhood and the town infrastructure. Amesbury has not collected a single dollar in taxes on this land in all the years since the Terrasphere bid. Mayor Kezer will say he inherited a tough situation. He did, but he inherited it from his political ally without any criticism of the process or those who enacted it.

As a town councilor at the time, I was very concerned about the contract and wrote a letter to the state inspector general. He responded, saying he believed the contract was seriously flawed and probably illegal. The town should have gone to court and had the whole thing voided, but the current mayor “renegotiated” the contract instead. If there is any new major advantage for the town, it hasn’t been made obvious to the public. Residential taxpayers still have no reason to rejoice over taxes we have been spared as a result. Thankfully, it appears that in our next election cycle we will have a slate of candidates determined to finally lessen our residential tax burden.

Jim Chandler


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