Town Moderator seeking people for Finance Committee

May 13, 2019

The Town Moderator is seeking candidates/nominations for Lynnfield’s Finance Committee – 3 year term member.

Working with other members, the duties include contributing to thought processes’ regarding the Town’s operational and capital budgets and financial position and strategies, reviewing, evaluating and discussing departmental budget requests, providing recommendations for upcoming warrant articles, researching strategies and items that arise, and providing an overall budget recommendation to be voted on in the Annual Town Meeting. Members are expected to gain familiarity with applicable Massachusetts General Laws and general financial principles.

Members must be available to attend committee meetings which are held on a Monday night each month. Meetings are held more frequently during the budget preparation season (January- April).

Interested applicants should email a letter of interest to Joe Markey at joe.markey

Correction: Six Million not five

May 6, 2019

The settlement with National Development is actually SIX million not five.    Settlement document is available at:

https://topics01940.files.wordpress.com/2019/05/fully-executed-settlement-letter-marketstreet-lynnfield.pdf

FIVE Million Dollar Tax Reduction for National Development

May 2, 2019

At Town Meeting the Town Administrator confirmed that the Town spent 36,000 dollars to defend itself against 4 cases at the state Appellate Tax Board. The resultant settlement lowered National Development assessment of Market Street by FIVE million dollars and the town had to refund 102,000 dollars rather than continue spending money on legal fees. This is important for the following reasons:

  1. The reduction in the assessment saves National approximately 85,000 per year. In two years they will have saved approximately 272,000. Almost the same amount they proposed “donating” for the fields. In summary the donation would not cost National Development anything.
  2. The FIVE million dollars reduction will be made by spreading the cost over all the property taxpayers in town.

This case was settled in Oct 2018, but has never been publicized.

So much for transparency

 

National Development’s withdrawal letter

April 21, 2019

Dear Selectmen,

Thank you, particularly to Mr. Dalton and Mr. Crawford, for your continuing efforts to work with MarketStreet and for the best interests of the community.  You have reflected the true spirit of partnership that has marked MarketStreet’s twelve year relationship with the Town of Lynnfield.  We have appreciated the opportunity to explore our proposal and work with you, the MarketStreet Advisory Committee, the Town of Lynnfield, and the greater Lynnfield community.

The decision not to proceed to spring Town Meeting is a difficult one.  In the end, we believe that it is an unfortunate outcome for both Lynnfield and MarketStreet.  Our application was delayed for a year to allow the MarketStreet Advisory Committee to study the project.  Waiting another year, as suggested by some, would yield no new information.

One of the things that we said when we came before the Board several months ago was that we hoped the discourse could occur in a constructive manner.  Unfortunately, the idea of civil discourse was not embraced by all.  Misrepresentations, inaccuracies and name calling by several vocal opponents will, without doubt, contribute to a poor long-term result for the town.

MarketStreet will continue to be the premier retail destination on the North Shore.  We will also continue to contribute over $4 million to Lynnfield’s tax base and, in time, build the remaining approximately 60,000 square feet of already permitted space within MarketStreet.  What we will not be able to do without the development of the theater is provide a smart signal system, ramp improvements, additional parking or make a major contribution to Lynnfield’s park improvements.

Thank you to those in Lynnfield who gave us their time and attention overt the last few months.  We look forward to continuing our partnership with the Town for many more years.

 

Ted Tye
Managing Partner
617-559-5050
tye@natdev.com
 

National has withdrawn the cineplex article

April 9, 2019

At tonight’s selectmens meeting, National Development submitted a letter withdrawing the Cineplex article.

We will publish the letter when we get a copy.

Thanks to everyone.

 

David Morales letter

April 6, 2019

Letter to the Lynn Item by Lynnfield resident on why to Vote No on Article 14

https://www.itemlive.com/2019/04/05/letter-to-the-editor-more-data-needed-on-lynnfield-cinema/

National Developments Latest Ad

April 6, 2019

National Development’s latest ad is another doozy!

Phil Crawford crows that MarketSreet has paid over $22 million in taxes. Yeah Phil, they have and they are wildly successful. That’s good and bad. They are a victim of their own success. Being 4 times as successful as first anticipated has brought 4 times the traffic overwhelming the road system around MarketStreet. Those of us who live here see it every day. Spend a day down here and see for yourself. We don’t bite. I’ll buy you a roast beef sandwich. You’ll see the road system is full.

The Cineplex will help sustain the vibrancy of MarketStreet. You guys really need to read the paper. Have you heard of the internet? Entertainment research shows a steady decline in movie attendance. 2017 was the worst year in 25 years. The average adult sees just 5 movies a year and 2/3 of adults say their movie attendance is declining. You guys want to keep MS vibrant, but you’re backing the wrong horse.

And don’t brag that the new garage will add 300 parking spots, because it will eliminate 140 spots. The net gain is only 160 for an 800-seat megaplex.

Significant traffic flow improvements are speculative, at best, because you won’t make them first so we can see if they work. If you are so sure they work, prove it first before you generate significantly more traffic. PS: Your own traffic guy says the adaptive lights won’t work in heavy traffic. Hello Newton Company! We have heavy traffic!

You will give the town $300,000 development contributions if we do what you want. Sorry, I’m not for sale. And if I were, it wouldn’t be for a measly $300K.

Generate over $350,000 in annual tax revenue. Apparently you don’t listen to your own financial guy. Because when asked at his MSAC presentation, he admitted that if an office building was built instead of a cinema, that financially, it essentially was a wash.

Provide over $200,000 in permitting fees. Yep and do you think we would let you build an office building for free? We will get permitting fees for office space too! Think again.

Provide recreational enjoyment for all ages. According to well-documented research by the entertainment industry, the average adult views 5 movies a year and this number is dropping. ND have you heard of the Internet? You know Netflix? Boy are you out of touch.

According to industry research, the target market for movie theaters is the 13 to 26 year old market. Your movie theater will bring them from all the surrounding towns as in “Let’s hang out in Lynnfield.”

This is the problem of having old guys run National Development. They are nostalgic for their youth. As in the words of Tom Wolfe, “You can’t go home again.”

Let’s cut to the chase. A development company from Newton whose managing partner lives in Boston could not care less if we are tied up all day in traffic as long as they are making money. Sadly, there are some residents of Lynnfield who feel the same way, as long as it somebody else’s pain, what do I care. Sad. It was never like this in Lynnfield before. Does anyone care that this town is being split in half? Oh well, I guess it’s just follow the money.

Vote NO on Article 14 – it is a bad idea for Lynnfield because it won’t do what they say it will and it will make a horrible traffic situation exponentially worse.

Voices should be heard

April 6, 2019

If you want your voice heard in the town it is imperative that you and as many of you friends and neighbors come to Town Meeting on April 29th.

Crawford and Dalton are beating the bushes and calling in every IOU that they have to get out their “core” vote.

There are so many reasons to dislike Article 14 as I’m sure you realize.

But Selectmen Dalton and Crawford are misguided on when they think they rule this town and it’s time to stand up and say NO to them.

Vote NO on article 14 at Town Meeting.

It’s laughable that National Development is touting the “thriving movies

April 3, 2019

It’s laughable that National Development is touting the “thriving movies ” ..

2017 was the worst year in 29 years and 2018 was the 4th worse.

Theater Admissions

See these websites for the real story about the theater industry. Don’t believe ND’s spin.

U.S. box office: 2017 movie ticket sales at 25-year low

Jan 2, 2018 – U.S. movie ticket sales in 2017 were lowest in 25 years …. Last year, the average was more than $8.93, according to Box Office Mojo, a record …
On Average, American Adults Say They Went to 5 Movies Last Year …
Jan 14, 2014 – 44%), attending about twice as many movies on average (6.3 vs. … agree that they are going to the movies less often now than they did a few years ago.

AmericanAdultsMovie
Two-Thirds of US Adults Say They Go to the Movies Less Often (Study)

https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/two-thirds-us-adults-say-669933

Jan 10, 2014 – According to a new survey, 68 percent of U.S. adults went to the movies at least once last year. But two-thirds of Americans say they’re going to …

Anne Mitchell’s Letter to Editors on” Concerns about Traffic and Public Safety are Legitimate and Credible”

April 2, 2019

I write to respond to the statements by Selectman Dalton and Selectman Crawford after Police Chief Breen was not allowed to speak publicly at the Selectmen’s meeting. Mr. Dalton’s statement (that opponents of the theater have “no credibility”) is insulting, as was Mr. Crawford’s statement that the request for a delay is a “stall tactic.” Are they suggesting that the MarketStreet Advisory Committee (“MSAC”) members, the Police Chief and Selectman Barrett have no credibility?

It was not too long ago when Mr. Dalton thought the developer should wait until after Building 1350 (Lahey Building) was fully operational before considering a cinema. Now Mr. Dalton and Mr. Crawford appear to be advocating for the cinema on behalf of National Development (it’s not the residents who are begging the Town to build a theater). Two questions that need to be asked are: (i) why are Mr. Dalton and Mr. Crawford not heeding the recommendations of MSAC and Chief Breen; and (ii) why are they advocating for this theater so vigorously despite these recommendations and the legitimate concerns raised by the residents of this Town?
As a member of MSAC, I also would like to take this opportunity to address several issues regarding this multiplex proposal.

MSAC was a committee authorized and appointed by the Board of Selectmen to review issues related to MarketStreet, including a theater proposal. The recommendation of MSAC (which adopted the recommendations of MSAC’s traffic subcommittee led by Chief Breen) was to delay any cinema at MarketStreet for at least one year after the Building 1350 is fully leased and operational. Incredibly, Selectmen Dalton and Crawford want to ignore the recommendation of this board-appointed committee, because the recommendation does not support National Development’s desires to have a multiplex.

Building 1350 is not fully leased. There is enough square footage remaining in Building 1350 to have another restaurant the size of the Yard House at that location. Because it not yet fully leased, we do not yet know the full impact of the traffic from the Building 1350. (See MSAC Report)

The number of ambulance runs to Lahey since opening have increased (per the Fire Chief). This increase will lead to more demands on the Town’s emergency services (including after day time hours response costs). (See MSAC Report). The Police Chief and former Fire Chief found National Development’s consultant’s estimates regarding calls for service “to be patently inaccurate.” (See MSAC Report)

The motor vehicle accident statistics don’t lie, nor do the pictures of the accidents. The MSAC report showed a significant increase in auto crashes. According to the data from the state, the accidents in the MarketStreet area more than doubled from 2013 to 2015, and at the time of its published report, MSAC only had state accident data through 2015. Based on some of the Town’s internal data, it is likely that the accidents statistics will be even worse in the years after 2015 through the present. (See MSAC Report)

The traffic jams are real (the pictures and videos residents have taken tell the story). (See also MSAC report for additional pictures). “At times, long delays have slowed response times for policy and fire apparatus.” (See MSAC Report)

Contrary to Mr. Crawford’s statement, there are no “off hours” for movie theaters. (See CMX’s website). The movies show from 10:00 a.m. until 1:00 a.m. and the cinema will be open 365 days a year. Residents would much prefer the agreed-upon office space, because it is well known that Office space generates day time traffic only, the traffic will be much less than an 800-seat multiplex showing up to 32-40 movies a day, the demands for parking will be less, and significantly, these offices will be closed on weekends and holidays.

There are many questions about whether the proposed adaptive signals and geometric improvements will fix the traffic problems at these intersections (especially with the limitations of the 128 overpass and the three narrow traffic lanes under the overpass). We already have some traffic sensors at the Market Street/Walnut Street intersection, and they are not working in times of heavy traffic. And National Development’s own traffic expert, Randy Hart, admitted in a presentation to MSAC that adaptive signals have limited effectiveness when there is heavy traffic volume. (See MSAC Report).

The adaptive signals will NOT prevent those motorists who rush off of the 128 south ramp and run the red light to get to a movie on time. Running this red light happens all of the time. With increased traffic (regardless of the adaptive signals) more accidents will occur (and by the way, Lynnfield’s auto insurance rates likely will go up too). (See MSAC Report)

Similar developments with theaters have multiple entrances and exits to handle the traffic that a multiplex generates. National Development can only advertise one entrance because of a deal it made with the Town of Wakefield, and all GPS systems direct cars to Exit 43. Essentially, MarketStreet has only one entrance, which negatively impacts traffic. By comparison, Superlux at Chestnut Hill (where National Development hosted MSAC committee members for a visit) is located right on Route 9 and has 4 entrances and 5 exits.

As also reported in the MSAC report, “increased traffic volume or traffic backups from a theater could negatively impact patronage at Market Street as a whole.”
Market Street is doing quite well and does not need a theater to remain viable (see MSAC Report). National Development’s Doug Strauss recently represented to FinCom that the life of tenant leases used to be 5-10 years and now that timeframe is shorter. He also stated how proud National Development is to still have 70% of its initial tenants at Market Street (almost six years later).
National Development has wanted a cinema at Market Street since its inception, and has come back several times over the years asking the Town for a cinema. (See MSAC Report). As time has shown, Market Street does NOT need a theater to be successful. As confirmed by Mr. Strauss at the FinCom meeting, the town generates over $4.3 million in taxes each year (which is way beyond the original estimate of $1 million in tax revenue from the Connery report). (See MSAC Report)

The REAL reason that National Development wants a cinema is to make a bigger profit from the percentage lease it will have with the cinema operator – by which it will make a percentage of the profits from the cinema revenue. This also explains why they are asking for an 8-screen, 800-seat multiplex (and not a much smaller cinema). And by the way, the last time that the cinema was voted on and rejected at Town meeting, the proposed cinema was only 360 seats.

As discussed above and as shown in the MSAC Report, the concerns about traffic and public safety are both legitimate and credible.

Thank you Selectman Barrett and Police Chief Breen for taking into consideration the real concerns of the residents of this Town and for not just saying “yes” to everything National Development requests. I hope that the Police Chief will be allowed to speak at Town Meeting to educate the voters about his concerns on traffic and public safety as well as his continued recommendation that a cinema at Market Street not be considered until one year after the Building 1350 (the Lahey Building) is fully leased and operational.

Let’s follow the recommendation of our Police Chief and MSAC to delay consideration of the cinema and Vote NO on Article 14 at the April 29th Town Meeting.

Sincerely,
Anne Mitchell
Lynnfield Resident and Member of MSAC