Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Open House Public Meeting Scheduled for Safe Routes to School Project Along High Street

Wednesday December 5th at 7:00 p.m.

An “open house” style public informational meeting will be held on Wednesday, December 5th at 7:00 p.m. in the large community room of the Senior Community Center at 331 High Street regarding the “Safe Routes to Schools” (SRTS) project.
The SRTS project is intended to encourage students to walk and bicycle to school safely through improvements to sidewalks and crosswalks along a portion of High Street between Toppans Lane and Buck Street.  Many have long observed safety concerns for students and others walking and bicycling to school across High Street due to the high volume and speed of motor vehicles, the wide crosswalks, the sight lines obscured by parked cars, the relatively narrow bike lanes, and the poor sidewalk conditions and noncompliant wheelchair ramps.  The City’s goal for the project along High Street is to provide a safer, more functional, more universally accessible, pleasing streetscape and transportation corridor.
In addition to reconstructing the sidewalks, the project includes adjusting the locations and shortening the length of the four existing crosswalks in the area to reduce pedestrian exposure to motor vehicle traffic, including installing small pedestrian-activated flashing beacons.  The project also includes adjusting the curbing to reduce the excessively wide portions of the street and creating “bump-outs” (similar to downtown Newburyport) to calm traffic and open up the sight lines at crosswalks and intersections.  Consultants have mapped the distribution of students’ homes, observed school arrival and dismissal patterns, reviewed collision histories and traffic counts, and met with staff and community members as they have developed the project.  The plans are currently at a draft final stage, and the project should be bid for construction by the state in 2019.
For more information, contact Geordie Vining, Senior Project Manager in Newburyport’s Planning Office, at (978) 465-4400 x6.

2019 Community Preservation Act Grant Round


The Newburyport Community Preservation Committee (“CPC”) announces that the 2019 Community Preservation Act Grant Round grant round is now open.  Project evaluation criteria and application forms for funding for the 2019 funding cycle are now available for distribution to be downloaded from the City’s website at: Applications are due at the Office of Planning and Development in City Hall no The CPA funds may be used only for the purposes designated in the CPA: to acquire and preserve open space, historic resources, affordable housing, and recreational resources. The CPC will receive and evaluate applications and make funding recommendations to the City Council, who must approve all projects. For more information about the CPA, visit  Last fiscal year the Newburyport Community Preservation Fund received $835,000 from the City’s 2% real estate tax surcharge which received a 19% match by State funds for total revenues of approximately $994,000. These revenues, when coupled with other reserved and previously uncommitted CPA funds, brought the total amount of available funding to approximately $1.5 million. The CPC recommended 20 projects to the City Council for appropriations totaling just over $1,200,000.  For further information, you may contact the Committee via e-mail at or by mail to Community Preservation Committee, Newburyport City Hall, 60 Pleasant Street, Newburyport, MA  01950.

The CPC members are:
Michael Dissette, Chair, Open Space Committee Representative
Jane Healey, Vice Chair, At-large Member
Paul Healy, Conservation Commission Representative
Dan Koen, Housing Authority Representative
Don Little, At-large Member
Karen Popken, Parks Commission Representative
Mark Rosen, At-large Member
Don Walters, Planning Board Representative
Sarah White, Historical Commission

Friday, November 23, 2018

Holiday Trash Pick Up, Bagged Leaf Collection, and Colby Farm Lane Yard Waste Facility Hours

Newburyport – Due to the Thanksgiving holiday, trash and recycling that is normally picked up on Thursdays will be picked up on Friday this week, and the Friday route will be picked up on Saturday. The only exception is the Downtown Business District collection, which will take place Friday, as usual.

The Newburyport Yard Waste Facility will be closed on Thanksgiving Day, but open for regular hours all other days this week (Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 7:30a.m. to 2:30 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.)

 The last day of the season for the Yard Waste Facility is Sunday, December 2, weather permitting. Regular hours of Tuesdays through Saturdays from 7:30 AM to 2:30 PM will remain in effect, plus Sundays from 10 am to 2 pm.

The final Curbside bagged leaf collection takes place on Saturday, December 8. Residents must place leaves in brown paper leaf bags or in marked barrels. Please fold over the tops of the bags to minimize the amount of leaves spilling out.  Bags must be curbside by 6:00 AM and contain only leaves or pumpkins.  Note: bags containing branches, plants, dirt, rocks or trash will be left behind.

Composting pumpkins rather than putting them in the trash benefits the city and the environment. You may place them in your leaf bag or backyard compost, drop them off at the Yard Waste Facility (no sticker needed), or, if you’re a subscriber to Black Earth Composter, in your green curbside bucket.

If you haven’t done so already, consider signing up for announcements or urgent alerts from any or all City departments. On the City of Newburyport’s website homepage, click on the mail button labeled “E-Alerts,” and/or the “Code Red” near the bottom of the page.

For additional information please see the City of Newburyport website, or contact the recycling and energy office, at 978-499-0413 or via e-mail at

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Excerpts of 10/23/18 ZBA Meeting - Virginia Lane

Address: 34 Virginia Lane
Special Permit for Non-conformities

Construct an addition at rear of pre-existing non-conforming home and add front porch

Adam Costa of Mead, Talerman and Costa, 30 Green Street presented the application. George Haseltine, builder was also present. The applicants are requesting to construct a new covered front porch and garage with addition of living area over 500 s.f. above the garage. The existing front setback is 28’ and with the porch would be 24’. The existing front set of stairs currently runs the depth of what the porch would be. The Garrison colonial home has an existing overhang. The garage addition would include a new driveway to provide access. There is no setback issue with the garage. A screened in porch would also be added on the rear of the structure where there is an existing deck. There are no additional nonconformities being added. The project will not be substantially more detrimental to the neighborhood.
Additions are on the rear of the structure and are not especially visible from the street. The applicant
also noted that the existing structure is higher than proposed additions.
Chair Ramsdell opened the hearing to public comment.

In Favor:

In Opposition:
Ann Myers, 22 Bayberry Road
Ms. Myers is a rear abutter and had concerns with decreasing property value, impacts on view from her property. She would not have bought her home if the addition had been there.

Questions from the Board:

Mr. Moore asked if there would be changes to existing front semi circle driveway. This would be
removed and a walkway off the new driveway with plantings and consistent with the neighborhood
would be added.

Ms. Pomeroy asked what material would be used on the new driveway. The existing driveway is asphalt and they intend to use asphalt for the new driveway. Ms. Pomeroy asked about drainage on the property. The roof is not infiltrated currently. They intend to add gutters and drywells as well as pitch the new driveway to the street per DPS regulations. Ms. Pomeroy asked about materials to be used on the exterior. All new solid hardy plank or cedar plank, aluminum clad, two over two windows will be used and be a vast improvement. Ms. Pomeroy asked what the additional living space above the garage would be used for. There would be a mudroom, entryway, laundry room, hallway and master suite with bathroom.

Chair Ramsdell commented on the robust addition, adding 1000 s.f. to a 2000 s.f .home and asked the
attorney for comment. Attorney Costa appreciated comments and concerns from the Board and
abutter. He noted that generally property values improve with a project such as this. There are certainly exceptions when lot is small, but in this case the lot is more than large enough to support the addition.
The placement is also positive here. The addition complies with setbacks in the side and rear.
Mr. Haseltine commented that the owners purchased in an area of the City that allows expansion.
Mr. Cameron asked why the house is angled on the property. The builder was not entirely sure, but it
could have to do with ledge on the property or surveying issues at the time of the build. Mr. Cameron
asked how long the owner has lived at the property. They have lived there about five years. Mr.
Cameron asked if there was other neighborhood input on the project. All other neighbors were in favor of the application, but they did not have letters of support. Mr. Cameron asked what the current
screening between back properties is. There are some pines. The applicants are proposing new plantings and also new 6’ cedar fencing.
There was discussion between the Board, Ms. Myers and the applicant on positioning of the neighboring abutter’s home, the new addition, and what might be done to screen, create privacy and make the project more palatable.


Mr. Cameron commented that key comparison is existing conditions and proposed conditions. Yes, the proposal is large, but it does not seem egregious.
Mr. Moore appreciated the effort and working together on screening could solve the abutter opposition.

Chair Ramsdell commented that in comparison to the surrounding neighborhood, the existing structure is relatively small. Because of the juxtaposition of homes and distance apart, he did not find  it large enough to oppose project.

Ms. Pomeroy would like to see conditions with a screening plan and good faith effort to work with theneighbor. Chair Ramsdell agreed that the Board could approve conditionally with planning office
The board and applicants were all comfortable with this.
-Eight ft. plantings will be installed as a visual buffer from the rear property line along the northern
property line as far as the rear point of the proposed new driveway.
-A 6 ft. stockade fence will be constructed from the intersection of the northerly side property line and the rear property line along a minimum of a third the length of the rear property line.
Motion to approve application 2018-056 with above conditions made by Ms. Pomeroy, seconded by
Mr. Cameron.
The motion passed unanimously.
Votes Cast:
Ed Ramsdell– approve
Robert Ciampitti – absent
Renee Bourdeau – absent
Maureen Pomeroy – approve
Edward Cameron – approve
Mark Moore – approve