Name: Ali Santarlasci
Address: 39 Forrester St.
Occupation: Retired marketing executive
Education: Master’s degree, business
Appointed or elected positions (Newburyport and elsewhere): Committee for an Open Waterfront member; Walking and Wheeling member; Merrimac Street Safety member
Civic organizations or activities: Former volunteer probation officer, City of Somerville court system, juvenile females, focusing on truancy and educational reinforcement; former volunteer, young teen homeless mothers, North Chelmsford/Lowell area
1. The most important thing facing Newburyport residents in 2018 is controlled growth of the city.
The reason this is most important is because of its permanency and far-reaching nature. Our city has seen many mistakes in development that cannot be reversed, which have had deleterious effects on our neighborhoods. This also leads to higher taxes paid by residents, a loss of affordable housing and open space, all related to our quality of life. A plan that addresses our further development needs and includes appropriate zoning changes to protect our historical buildings, neighborhoods and tax rates will include smart development of our business park.
2. What are three things you believe the City Council needs to accomplish by the end of 2018?
Three things include rewriting of our zoning ordinances to protect our historical city and provide an expanded business presence in our business park, improvements in our citizen safety which include sidewalks, streets and traffic management, and developing sources of creative funding for our school system to combat unfunded state mandates that have a negative effect on both special education and necessary programs.
3. What is your vision for the Waterfront West property?
My vision includes a small visitor center with electronic communication capability because as we all know, people are now relying on their phones to download maps and keys to touring. We need to provide information in a format that is useful and user friendly.
In addition, we need to allow private development that is aesthetically in tune with our historical downtown space and does not restrict site view lines from Merrimac Street. We currently have height restrictions on the waterfront property that should not be changed for any developer. The NED plan should not be authorized at the expense of our open access and views, and should include self-provided parking, not city-owned space.