Chain Bridge

Chain Bridge

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Anna Jaques Hospital's new "Neighbors in the Know" program

Anna Jaques Hospital's new "Neighbors in the Know" program
In an effort to make it faster and easier to communicate with our neighbors, Anna Jaques invites you to join our “Neighbors in the Know” email distribution list.  This means you would opt to receive an occasional email from our hospital about things that may impact you as our neighbors. For example, these communications would include advance notice about construction projects or anything that might disrupt traffic in or around the hospital.
Your email address would be used solely to communicate timely information that might affect you as our neighbor. General communications about the hospital, new services or programs, new physicians, etc. would NOT be shared through this email. Public safety information would continue to come from the Newburyport Police Department via its established channels.
We also invite you to use our email address to ask questions or share comments. The email will be checked regularly and responses will be sent within five (5) business days.

Sign up today!

Excerpt of September 5th Planning Board Meeting- Colby Farm

b) Colby Farm Lane Residential Overlay District (CFL-ROD) & Open Space Residential
Developments (OSRDs)

Director Port demonstrated on the map the areas of Storey Avenue, downtown, and open space
preserved by the City. He highlighted land that was not permanently protected in the Low Street
area. Many residents had told the City they wanted this space protected through repeated
outreach. He demonstrated on a map with zoning layers and overlay districts that had other
standards the industrial/business overlay district that was adopted years ago. Today, residents did
not want industrial development there. The City had preserved one area but not others. A
developer was interested in the property for a subdivision.

He described how the Oleo Woods Overlay District used an adjusted density formula to allow a
clustered subdivision instead of the typical subdivision sprawl in order to preserve land and open
space. The result was a nice place to live. The City looked at the Colby Farm area with that in
mind. He displayed an enlarged map of the area where the amendment would allow subdivision
clustering and said it made sense for preserving the open space. He showed the percentage of
Olio Woods development versus preserved land, and displayed the Colby Farm lot lines under
current zoning. Development could occur in different configurations. He displayed an illustration
depicting a typical subdivision scenario in the space. The Community Preservation Committee
(CPC) was in support because offsetting clustered homes from the view permanently preserved
the view. The City would not have to spend significant funds to buy the lots in order to preserve
the land and save the viewshed. Affordable units were included in the cluster. The proposed
amendment would also remove the Industrial B Residential Overlay District (IB-ROD) that was
created to allow the Oleo Woods OSRD project.

Amendment co-sponsor Councilor Giunta said Colby Farm was in Ward 5. Councilor Tontar was
the other co-sponsor and Ward 4 was nearby. Many residents had reached out to him to save the
farm and preserve the viewshed. Subsequently, the City purchased lot #8, but could not afford to
buy the whole farm. The developer’s project would preserve 80% of the farm, preserve the view,
and revitalize the Colby Farm Lane area under the proposed amendment. Councilor Tontar said
many people preferred the farm to remain in operation. It was extremely expensive for the City
to purchase the land at market value now that a developer was interested. The City tried
imposing an ordinance that designated the land agricultural. That got the developer’s attention and initiated conversations between the property owner, the City, and the developer during
which everyone supported using the OSRD for density purposes and building houses that were
more affordable than typical new units in the City.

Planning Board members said the board agreed in June that other properties around Colby Farm
Lane should be considered also. Director Port said the Woodman Farm property, where a dense
housing project was once proposed, could not be seen from Low Street. It was included along
with the Cooper property.
Public comment open.

Leslie Bushiks, 185 Low Street, said her 1864 house faced the farmland. Her view would be
completely obstructed by the cluster development. Mr. Bushiks was supportive of open space,
but they bought their property because the house faced the field instead of the road. The
clustered development would remove barns that were part of the farmland’s look and feel. Was
the back land all wetlands? Director Port said from his discussions with the Conservation
Commission, conservation agent, and people in the community, that it was possible wetlands
could prohibit the subdivision. There was more upland than wetland and lots could be
reconfigured, but the upland could not be accessed without crossing the wetlands. The building
commissioner could say no. Director Port had reviewed all the other options and costs. The
proposed was the best scenario for the City. He would set up a meeting with the Bushiks.
Jeanette Isabella, 1 Lime Street, was in support. She asked if the development was accessed from
Colby Farm Lane? Director Port said yes.

Director Port wanted to work in a phrase or two about the use of the open space before a vote.
Some people wanted to allow a ball field but no structures in the open space. The Parks
Department was interested in the field, which might or might not be possible. He also wanted to
change the language so that agricultural operations were an explicitly allowable use

Mary Creche, 232 High Street, was in support, but a development would erase the farmland feel of the lane and the neighborhood. Would the other side of the lane be developed also? Director Port said properties further down Colby Farm Lane were landlocked and would not change. Someday, solar panels might be on the landfill. The Common Pasture was already preserved. The only pieces of land that could be developed were the ones in question. No development proposal had been received yet for lots further up Low Street where a future subdivision was likely and a similar process could be worked out with a developer. Ms. Creche asked about potential complaints on yard waste facility noise and the landfill smells from new residents. Director Port said there were discussions about a requirement, such as a deed restriction and language in the permit, for new residents to acknowledge the existing uses.

Chair Sontag read letter from Alida Frey, 5 Wilson Way, who was opposed unless the amendment also addressed remediation for the dangers presented by heavy Low Street traffic and the lack of adequate sidewalks and paved bike paths for the safety of children and adults.

Public comment closed.

Board members said the proposed was a better solution than the piecemeal agricultural zoning
effort. An overlay district usually addressed a problem. Chair Sontag considered whether an
amendment that facilitated development was acceptable. An amendment aligned with Master
Plan goals was good. Board members were in support, but commented that this was ahead of the
comprehensive zoning rewrite. Chairman Eigerman gave a brief history of recent deadlocks in
the City’s preservation district efforts. He took exception to any notion that amendments brought
forward by the committee were not good, given that they had been pressing for a comprehensive
zoning rewrite for years. Board members asked about adding a recommendation on sidewalks?

Chair Sontag said sidewalks would be dealt with during the permitting process. Director Port
agreed. Board members wanted that information communicated.

Don Walters made a motion to recommend adoption of the proposed amendments to the OSRD,
which includes (1) removing the IB-ROD, and (2) adding the CFL-ROD language, as discussed
and amended, to the ordinance. Leah McGavern seconded the motion and all members voted in

Councilor Giunta made a motion to approve the amendment. Councilor Shand seconded the
motion and all members voted in favor.
Councilor Shand made a motion to adjourn the Planning & Development Committee meeting.
Councilor Giunta seconded the motion and all members voted in favor.

Motions Approved.

Free Flu Clinics Offered by Health Department

Thursday, August 30, 2018

9/5/18 Planning Board Agenda- Colby Farm

September 5, 2018 
7:00 PM 
Council Chambers

Joint Public Hearing with the Planning & Development Committee and Committee of the Whole

 a) Prohibit Use Variances: Amend the Newburyport Zoning Ordinance Section X-H.6.A so as to expressly prohibit the granting of Use Variances by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

 b) Colby Farm Lane Residential Overlay District (CFL-ROD) & Open Space Residential Developments (OSRDs)

2018 Household Hazardous Waste Day

2018 Household Hazardous Waste Day

No First Saturday Drop-off at Colby Farm Lane Recycle Center in September
Labor Day Week Pick-up Delay
Recycle Center weekday hiatus

Newburyport – The Labor Day holiday affects trash and recycling collection and the monthly recycling drop-off day, but not the schedule of the Yard Waste Facility.

Drop-off Recycling Day
The September drop-off day for recyclables is not on the first Saturday of the month, and is not at the Recycle Center. Instead, residents may bring any of those recyclable materials to the Household Hazardous Waste Day, at 16a Perry Way, off Low Street, at the Department of Public Services (DPS), on Saturday, September 22, between 8 a.m. and 12 p.m.

Yard Waste Facility
The Yard Waste Facility is not affected by the Labor Day holiday, and will open, as usual, at 7:30 a.m., on Tuesday, September 4.

Household Hazardous Waste Day
The Household Hazardous Waste Day on Saturday, September 22 will be open from 8 am to 12 pm. Please note, this event takes place at 16A Perry Way, at the DPS, and will be held rain or shine. This drop-off event provides residents with the opportunity to dispose of hazardous materials in an environmentally responsible manner.  Contractors may not use Household Hazardous Waste Day to dispose of materials.

Clean Venture of Framingham will be on site September 22 to accept oil-based paints (no latex paint), varnishes, pesticides, pool chemicals, gasoline and other household hazardous chemicals.  Costs are $30 for up to 10 gallons or pounds, and $50. for up to 25 gallons. Cash and checks are accepted.
Clean Venture will NOT be accepting commercial/industrial waste, latex paint, ammunition, asbestos, radioactive material, fire extinguishers, or medical or biological wastes. To ensure safety, please adhere to the following handling procedures: leave materials in original labeled containers; tighten caps and lids; place containers in sturdy upright boxes rather than in garbage bags; avoid smoking while handling hazardous materials. Most importantly, do not mix chemicals. A full list of accepted materials may be found on the recycling page of the City of Newburyport website (

A paper shredding truck will also be on-site for document shredding; the first file-size box is free, a $5 fee applies for each additional box. The Shred Source will be donating proceeds to a local non-profit.

In addition to paper shredding, there are four basic stations. Please sort items when packing your vehicle:
1.fluorescent + LED bulbs, printer ink, mercury thermometers + thermostats along with rechargeable batteries and smoke detectors;
2.motor oil with tires and car/boat batteries;
3.electronics and appliances (large and small),
4.household chemicals with oil-based paints.

Links to a full list of accepted materials, and any applicable fee, may be found on the recycling page of the City of Newburyport website ( For questions:, or call 978-499-0413.

Curbside Labor Day/Week trash and recycling
During the week of September 3, trash and recycling pick-up will be delayed by one day, all week, due to the Labor Day holiday. Residents with Monday pick-up will have pick-up on Tuesday; residents who typically have Tuesday pick-up will have pick-up on Wednesday, and so on. Friday residents outside of the downtown area will have pick-up on Saturday. The downtown district will have Friday am pick-up as usual.

As many residents know, the Recycle Center on Colby Farm Lane is often open on Mondays and Thursdays from 12:15 p.m. to 2:15 p.m.  There will be a short break in the weekday schedule during the first two weeks of September, but will back open for business on Monday, September 17.
Read more

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Discussions on the Future of Colby Farm

b) Informal discussion: OSRD Ordinance and Colby Farm

Nick Cracknell, land use consultant, Keystone Planning and Design, 13 Pickard Street,
Amesbury, met with Chair Sontag, Director Port, Planner Kate Newhall Smith, and City
Councilors Larry Guinta and Charlie Tontar two or three times to work on the proposed with
developer Ben Legare and Ms. Garand. Discussions primarily resulting from the AG zoning
amendment and were an effort to meet the City’s and the seller’s objectives.
Mr. Cracknell proposed an amendment to the OSRD. He discussed conceptual plans for the
shared goals of preserving the view and open space on 450 acres that included an access road. He
demonstrated the area on the plan, most of it owned by the City, and its boundaries with the
Myette property and open space, similar to Russell Terrace. There were no development rights
on 95% of the land. Development was all along the edge with views across Woodman Farm from
the end of Quail Run. The Colby, Bashaw, and Garand families had worked on preservation
issues with Mr. Legare with the hope that the City would install recreational amenities. The
Conservation Commission would have an interest in the wet areas. Mr. Legare had the first four
lots on Colby Lane under agreement. The City bought one lot. Two lots had been on the market
for a while.

Mr. Cracknell proposed a three-party agreement between the City, the buyer, and the seller to
purchase two lots in the R1 zone. A previous concept had houses with two-car garages alongside
each other and along the edge on four lots, which would block views. Transferring the
development rights to an area more suitable for development preserved the open space. R1
generated low value, high impact lots. He showed an image of a traditional compact
neighborhood development and said six months ago the plan was a 12-unit development.
Proposed was 16-units with two structures as two-family buildings. Three of the four double
units would be market rate and one would be affordable. The amendment created a change that
would convey 80-85% of two lots to the City to be kept undeveloped. He showed an image of
the previous AG zoning. The proposed concept could be used for the people next door as well,
and could be viewed as a threshold for making Colby Farm Lane a pleasant place to live. The
yield plan would work like Oleo Woods by using R2 density requirements. Twelve lots could
become 14 lots with 16 units with a density bonus, making one additional affordable unit in the
process. Director Port said increasing density in the cluster development

Mr. Cracknell said building a road for the OSRD was possible, but carried risks of time, money,
and effort because of going between two wetlands to get to the field. Five or six lots would be
needed for the yield plan. Instead of evaluating that, all the conventional lots could go up front. It
would be a lot easier with R2 than R1. The AG amendment made it clear that this parcel was not
included. Otherwise, Mr. Legare would have six lots along the road. The choice was a
conventional ANR or additional clustered development in the current cluster on Colby Lane and
Low Street instead of spending money to access the back lot. The yield plan would be easier for
the developer and the board. There was no image prepared showing lots #6 and #7 with two
houses as opposed to tucking them into the corner of the cluster development.
Director Port said the City bought a lot for $275,000 and discussed putting $1-2 million aside to
preserve farming uses and protect the viewshed. Mr. Cracknell’s proposal was the best balance
of all options discussed over the last few years. City councilors worked cooperatively with the
development team on ways to put greater density along the street. Transferring development
rights would cluster the homes on Colby Farm Lane. The City was willing to put up $250,000 to
preserve the lots against low-density sprawl. The Planning Office supported the amendment and
was generally in favor of a tripartite agreement between the developer, landowner, and the City
to protect the viewshed without substantial expenditure.

Mr. Cracknell said the land was under agreement for $1.3 million, a considerable investment
compared to the commitment to transfer property rights. Mr. Legare would put in $300,000.
Director Port said new homes would be located where the existing farm structures were, for a de
minimus effect on the viewshed. Mr. Cracknell said the concept still required nailing down
details on how to maximize the viewshed. He tried to update the ordinance and referenced the
inclusionary zoning ordinance to clarify what the requirements were. A Homeowner’s
Association could take the open space, or it could go to the City, or it could go to a trust where
all homeowners were required to be members. Farmers needed some control and to ensure open
space access. The ordinance was vague about whether open space could be conveyed to a private
party with development rights. It was a housekeeping task for people with the working farms. He
also fixed some typos. There were four amendments: 1) creating the overlay; 2) pulling in
property owners he listed that would go from 50% open space with R1 to 80% with R2; 3)
creating the 80-85% open space requirement; and 4) that development would sit on 15% of the
land, with the 25% density bonus that could be met with public access or a public park.
Director Port said the R1 open space requirement was 60% in the current ordinance. Chair
Sontag was not clear what the base was for open space in the districts. The underlying zoning
would not change. If the project were not approved, the district would revert to R1. Director Port
would prepare a table that showed a side-by-side comparison for ease of interpretation of the
language. Adding language proposed by Mr. Cracknell increased the open space to 80%, the
greater density would be clustered, and lots #6 and #7 absorbed. The mechanics of the ordinance
would allow greater clustering of the development. The properties would be redeveloped similar
to Oleo Woods in order to preserve lots #6 and #7.
Members asked why the City did not purchase lots #6 and #7. Director Port said the City had not
been noticed yet. The property owners were not sure yet whom the purchaser would be. The City
contemplated a desire to purchase additional lots when purchasing lot #8. The Community

Preservation Committee set aside $100,000 to buy lot #1, but that did not meet the cost. The
proposal was a reasonable plan that benefited all stakeholders. Members asked if a P&S were
entered tomorrow for lots #6 and #7, and the sale executed, would the City lose the options to
buy lots #6 and #7. Would the City be paying $200,000 for a $300,000 value? Mr. Cracknell said
the proposal did not negate any option to buy. The City would still be presented with the option
to buy, but that decision would not affect the market value of the lots, which were worth
$500,000. The land would be conveyed to Mr. Legare. Some lots were not 61A and an owner
could pull land out of the voluntary 61A program. The back part of lot #1 was high and dry. Lot
#1 was on the market for $400,000 and well suited for a park. The proposed did not build much
on lot #1. Members asked why not just buy lots #6 and #7?
Mr. Cracknell presented a scenario that paid $250,000 for each lot. A single-family house on
each lot considerably increased the lots’ value and there would be no affordable unit. The
proposed concept cost $500,000 more than he initially thought for paving Crow Lane, sharing
the cost of a new sewer line, and betterment fees. The developer did not really want the last two
lots, but when the road costs grew with the cost of improvements, sidewalks, and dealing with a
large amount of ledge, Mr. Cracknell suggested folding in lots #6 and #7. Mr.
approval and development. Saving the viewshed inextricably linked the zoning to the
development. The board would need help cultivating an understanding of how it would work.

Director Port said the proposal was representative of what could be allowed and could affect the
Mason Cooper property. The overlay would be exactly the same as Oleo Woods. Members
wanted to learn how Woodman could benefit. The AG zoning change created angst with
property owners. The proposed would offer them something. The payment should be understood,
especially if the City would be subsidizing other developers. Director Port said that there was
precedent when a public benefit was involved. The Affordable Housing Trust slightly subsidized
Craig Pessina’s project on Mechanics Way for affordable housing units. Members said the City
would be providing a benefit to the developer. Mr. Cracknell said the proposal reduced the risk
to the property owners who went through a tumultuous six months trying to figure out zoning
issues. It could also help to subsidize Colby Farm. If the City and Mr. Legare partnered, the City
would not have to spend a $1.5 million buying a whole farm to preserve the view. This was the
tip of the iceberg for hundreds of developable acres the City would be fighting to keep open.
Members asked if the proposal included the Woodman property? Director Port said that was up
to the City Council but well worth considering. The proposal did not preclude other options. It
was a beneficial option compared to defaulting to the standard option. The Woodman lot was
extremely wet and not developable. It was not included because there were questions about other
uses for it. Chair Sontag said they tried to do a 40B, hopscotching with four wetland crossings.
Mr. Cracknell said the land was not good for commercial or industrial use. Residential or
preservation seemed the logical use. Members asked if the proposal included MINCO? Director
Port said the front piece would be commercial and MINCO had the back piece. The land
remaining behind the proposed area was forested, wrapped around in an L-shape. If it were
developed, the public would notice the change from the street, but the forest had no view, except
of more forest. He recommended including it. Members said someone had to put a proposal
forward to develop it. Director Port said yes, but despite discussion of alternative uses for the
land, it was now part of the conversation to include in this proposal. The AG zoning amendment
created concerns for landowners by reducing their development opportunities. The proposed
provided an additional development option landowners were not likely to find objectionable.

Mr. Cracknell said the R1 meant a by right six-lot subdivision. Mr. Legare was figuring out his
options, six or ten homes safely, with one lane and one court, as opposed to an R2 overlay for 14
structures, 16 units, and a bump in affordable units. The R2 would only be used to calculate the
yield. The developer would ask for an OSRD Special Permit. Chair Sontag asked Mr. Cracknell
to show what could be done under current zoning in terms of building envelopes, roadways,
unbuildable parts, and the issues of a through road. The board would accept that as a justifiable
by right yield plan. Mr. Cracknell said the R2 could not be built conventionally. Like Oleo
Woods, it was only an R2 for the base plan for the special permit. Members asked if two
drawings were missing. What was the yield plan for the current plan? Chair Sontag said the yield
plan was different than what was available today under R1. The developer would not get the R2
yield. Mr. Cracknell said a yield plan for the R2 could be done on an overlay. Members said that
viewing yield plans for R1, R2, and the 14-home cluster, would address 75% of their questions.
Director Port agreed. Mr. Cracknell would prepare it, but did not expect the board to approve a
conceptual plan meant only to illustrate a concept. Director Port said if there were general
agreement, he would convey to the council that the board was willing to sponsor the amendment
in order to get it into committee.

Two members were supportive in principle because of increased density and preserved open
space. Two members wanted to see what other properties could be included. Chair Sontag
wanted to see the four elements: the zoning amendment, the developer agreement, the tripartite
agreement, and the commitment of City funding. Members wanted modest homes. Mr. Legare
agreed. Most homes would not have two-car garages. The duplexes would look like singlefamily
homes. One had a basement unit. One single-family home and one condo were affordable.
Members asked why none of the houses faced Colby Farm Lane? Houses facing the street
supported the longevity and health of a street. Mr. Legare said the active trucking facility with
15-16 shipping containers across the street was not safe for kids. The City’s Recycling and Yard
Waste facilities were also active. He wanted to protect the neighborhood and would do a lot of
landscaping along the street and improve the pavement. Mr. Cracknell said the proposed
included either six properties or eight with Woodman and MINCO.

Councilor Tontar asked for an update the sale of lots #6 and #7. Mr. Legare said the sale on lot
#6 fell apart. The owner was amendable to being part of a tripartite agreement. Mr. Cracknell
said a small portion of lot #6 supported a house. The sellers’ had accepted Mr. Legare’s offer to
buy both lots for $500,000. Chair Sontag asked for neighbors’ input. Councilor Giunta said six
residents along the street responded.  Mr. Cracknell was unenthusiastic for a 1950s-style subdivision versus preserving a vista that
everyone in town valued. Density was a small worry, but neighbors were amendable.
Chair Sontag requested further clarification for ease of presenting the data. Director Port said
materials would be made available. He recommended proceeding to get it on the docket.
Councilor Tontar asked how far down water and sewer would lines go. Mr. Legare needed Water
& Sewer Department input to answer that. The biggest unknown was the side with ledge. Mr.
Cracknell said paving would probably go as far as the container business. Houses may not get
basements. There could be a great deal of blasting. Councilor Giunta said a couple of years ago
the trucking firm said everything beneath the barns was ledge.

2018 Community Preservation Act Requests