Tag Archives: Peabody development

Putting tiny apartments on Main bad for downtown revitalization plans

4 Dec

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

Well, here we go again.

Just when we all thought that we were taking steps in the right direction when it came to revitalizing Peabody’s downtown, our Community Development Department becomes an accomplice again in a familiar game where greedy developers to do whatever they want, wherever they want.

Developers will be before the city council tomorrow night seeking a special permit to shoe-horn 10 one-bedroom, 500-square foot apartments into an old office building at 98 Main Street. That’s great, just what we need downtown, more potential and transient Section 8 housing.

When will this all stop? When will the leaders in Community Development understand it’s not just about development?

It’s about responsible development.

I say this already knowing that Community Development has given its blessing to this ill-advised project. I say ill-advised not because there’s no parking, and not because I’m against residential development in the downtown.

It’s ill-advised because this is prime commercial space, where we should be encouraging mixed-use and the type of development that will make our downtown as vibrant as Salem’s. If we’re going to go the mixed-use route, with shops, restaurants, and other businesses on the first floor, and residential living spaces above, I’m all for that. But these residential living spaces need to be higher end, and be able to attract people who actually have disposable income to spend downtown.

I say all of this while recognizing the need for affordable housing. But our downtown will never become what we want it to be by putting these types of units right in the heart of what needs to become Peabody’s downtown Renaissance.

Call them apartments, if you want, but what’s being proposed here isn’t much grander than your average rooming house.

The city council doesn’t just need to ask serious questions tomorrow night. It needs to reject this plan for the good of the city’s revitalization efforts.

Mayor moves quickly to defend quality of life for residents in Peabody’s Ward 5

10 Jan

By Bob Croce, EOP Publisher

We talk all of the time in this blog about Peabody becoming more “business friendly,” and while we still need to approach it that way in an effort to find the money we need for infrastructure and schools, there’s one credo we still need to embrace:

Quality of life for our residents should always trump our goal to be “business friendly.”

We want more business in Peabody.  It’ll mean more tax revenue,  and allow us to eventually put less of the burden on residential payers.  But we also want businesses that will hold up their end and respect the needs and the rights of the residents.

So why am I on this soap box today?

Well, it appears that Mayor Ted Bettencourt is embracing the credo. Without hesitation yesterday,  and after hearing numerous complaints from neighbors in an around Winona Street, the Mayor placed an immediate cease and desist order on Marchese Properties on a project  it is developing on Route 1 South.

Why? Well, if you’ve been by there lately, especially during a big rain storm, you’ve observed rivers of mud flowing from the project, and into the backyards of neighbors, destroying pools and other property, and making life miserable for people who take pride in their properties and pay their taxes on time.

But don’t just take my word for it.  Watch this video from one of that neighborhood’s residents to see what grief this has caused homeowners. Watch this video, and then put yourself in the shoes of this homeowner.

There are a lot of reasons for the problem, but as a resident myself of Ward 5, I can tell you that the previous administration didn’t do enough to alleviate the problems here for theses affected neighbors.

Developer Richard Marchese has agreed to stop the work for now, which includes a commercial building and a small housing development. He’ll come before the Planning Board on Feb. 7 to determine if he is in violation of his permit.

Bettencourt ordered the cease and desist during an emergency meeting of the Planning Board. After meeting with residents, and having the building inspector go to the area to confirm what he was seeing in photos and videos, the mayor shut it down.

This mayor definitely gets it. The rights of the residents needs to always come first.

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