Archive for May, 2014

Lynnfield board overrules Town Meeting, gives name to road into MarketStreet development – North – The Boston Globe

May 29, 2014

Article and comments can be found here

http://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/north/2014/05/28/lynnfield-board-overrules-town-meeting-gives-name-road-into-marketstreet-development/WEJNHJhytyvUbcndm0zICL/story.html

 

Text is:

The Lynnfield Board of Selectmen is facing sharp criticism after its decision to name a short road leading into the MarketStreet Lynnfield mixed-use development, just weeks after Town Meeting said no.

On May 19, the board named the state-owned road Market Street. By naming the road, the town fulfilled a state Department of Transportation requirement that will allow signs on Route 128/Interstate 95 directing motorists to the street — and the businesses, restaurants, golf course, and residences within the development.

Proponents say the signs will improve safety by providing better directions to the development. However, critics say the vote circumvents the will of town residents: At the April 28 annual Town Meeting, voters defeated an article asking the town to accept the road leading into the development as a public way.

“You can’t just override that vote, and that’s what I felt they did,” said Selectman Tom Terranova, the dissenting vote in the board’s 2-to-1 decision. “It was like they were thumbing their nose [at citizens], and just doing what they thought was right. I could not agree with that.”

“It’s a slap in the face to the people who voted at Town Meeting,” said resident Wally MacKenzie. “People who have lived [in Lynnfield] all their lives have told me they’ve never seen anything like this.”

But Selectman Phil Crawford said the move addresses the traffic concerns as well as the major objections raised at Town Meeting. Specifically, residents were concerned the town would still have liability issues, despite an agreement that the development would accept maintenance and liability. There were also other concerns, including that the town was accepting a road it had little role in designing.

“This gets rid of all those objections and still protects the town of Lynnfield,” said Crawford.

Some of those who opposed the vote criticized the swiftness of the action. Selectmen were asked to delay their vote for two weeks.

“I don’t know why it had to be done then and there,” said Katy Shea, a resident.

“I don’t object to what they did; I object to the process,” said Frank Sawin, a neighbor of the development.

But Board of Selectmen chairman David Nelson said it was necessary to move quickly for public safety.

Police Chief David Breen “stood up at both meetings and said it was a public safety issue,” Nelson said. “When there’s a public safety issue, our responsibility is to react.

“We don’t want to circumvent Town Meeting — Town Meeting is sacred,” Nelson said. “I wish people would just get the right information before they shoot negative e-mails all over the place.”

National Development’s Ted Tye, a MarketStreet partner with WD Development, has requested that state highway officials install four signs — on both northbound and southbound lanes of the highway and on both ramps at Exit 43 — to help direct drivers to the development.

The transportation department won’t put up signs for businesses, but it commonly puts up signs to streets that major developments are located on.

Town officials say that as a result of delivery truck drivers and shoppers losing their way, there have been accidents as well as reports of drivers turning around in residential neighborhoods, and in some cases knocking on doors to ask for directions.

McKenzie noted that the signs will provide more than a public safety benefit for the development.

“Public safety may play a small part of it, but for somebody to say it’s purely for public safety is kind of Orwellian,” he said. “It’s a piece, but not the whole thing.”

As McKenzie and Sawin see it, the town could have used the marketing value of the signs to negotiate with MarketStreet Lynnfield. “We gave them something for nothing,” McKenzie said.

“My take is that we want MarketStreet to succeed,” said Nelson. “We want our businesses to be healthy and financially secure, because that will help Lynnfield be healthy and financially secure. There’s a lot of revenue coming to Lynnfield from MarketStreet.”

Crawford agreed.

“We want MarketStreet to be as successful as possible,” he said. “We don’t want to do anything that will be detrimental to the town, but putting a sign on the highway? How is that detrimental to the town?”

Currently in its second building phase, MarketStreet Lynnfield opened in August 2013, mixing retail, restaurants, community activities, office space, and residences.

Located at the former Colonial Golf Course, the project includes 180 apartments, and (on land donated by the developer) a public nine-hole golf course and a 48-unit residential building for people age 60 or older.

The town has estimated that annual real estate taxes, the local meals tax, and other revenues generated by MarketStreet will total $2.5 million to $3 million, said Crawford, a former vice chairman of the Lynnfield Finance Committee. Factoring in the costs of additional police and fire coverage, and anticipated schooling costs from those in the apartment buildings, he said the town anticipates netting $2 million in annual tax revenue. Nelson said that amount could be even greater.

As Crawford sees it, the people who oppose the street name seem to be a group opposed to anything the town does to accommodate the development.

“They’re just dead set against anything that would benefit MarketStreet,” he said.

Sawin, a MarketStreet neighbor, said that’s not an accurate depiction. While he has opposed the development in the past, he said, he now frequents it regularly, purchasing food from Whole Foods Market and dining at the development’s restaurants.

“I want it to thrive,” said Sawin, who said that with the exception of some “growing pains” including an occasional noise issue, the development has been a good neighbor.

He is still concerned that traffic will increase as the development is completed, Sawin said. And Shea noted that she had concerns about pedestrian access.

Tye said MarketStreet has tried to be responsive to neighbors’ concerns.

“It’s in our best interest to be sure we work well with neighbors, that our customers get to the site whether they’re driving or walking in the safest and easiest possible way,’” he said. “And if there are any continued issues along those lines, we’ll be right out in front of them.”

TEARING THE FABRIC

May 28, 2014

THE EXECUTIVE BRANCH VS THE LEGISLATIVE BRANCH OF LYNNFIELD GOVERNMENT

 

In my opinion, with its recent myopic 2 to 1vote on naming a paper street “Market Street” the Board of Selectmen made a very serious error – not so much on the direct issue of the Street naming/signage but, more importantly, on the big-picture issue of equal respect/balance between the Executive [Board of Selectmen] and Legislative [Town Meeting] branches of our local government.  The Selectmen started the process by asking Town Meeting to vote on the Market Street issue and the Town Meeting voted it down.  If the Selectmen have found a better solution, given the Town Meeting no-vote, and in the absence of any evidence of urgency, the issue should go again before Town Meeting.  No one knows exactly why the Town Meeting voted as it did and, therefore, out of courtesy if nothing else, but more importantly to protect the fabric of our check and balance system of government, the issue could/should have been approved by the Selectmen subject to ratification by Town Meeting in October.  That way the outcome would be certain, the will of the people would have been preserved whatever the final outcome, and the perception that the Board of Selectmen can unilaterally overrule Town Meeting would not exist.  The action of the Selectmen diminishes Town Meeting and discourages citizens from attending.  Why should they if their votes don’t count anyway?  I think it is a sad day for Lynnfield with detrimental long-term ramifications that perhaps only the ballot box can mend.

Dave Miller

Former Selectman

Former Moderator

An Open Letter to the Selectmen from Anne Mitchell

May 27, 2014

Subject: Naming an Unmarked Street Vote

Mr. Crawford and Mr. Nelson,

I am writing to express my utter disappointment with your vote to approve this issue without considering even a short delay of two (2) weeks to: (i) gather more information based on the comments provided by residents this evening, (ii) determine if any leverage could be used to get DOT to also put up signs to point traffic to Exit 42 (WHICH WOULD REDUCE TRAFFIC FOR LYNNFIELD AND ALSO IS A SAFETY ISSUE), and (iii) most importantly, obtain input from your constituents (after they voted against this issue at town meeting).  Unfortunately, I could not attend the Selectmen’s meeting this evening, but I (and I expect many other residents), watched with serious concern as to how you conducted this meeting.

It was apparent to all watching the complete disregard you had for the very thoughtful points made by several residents who attended the meeting this evening and that you had made up your mind to vote to approve this issue regardless of: (1) the vote at Town meeting; and (2) the input provided to you by the residents who attended this evening.

You were elected to represent the residents of Lynnfield, and by your actions and vote this evening (and just days after Town Meeting and without fully vetting this issue), you failed to do that.

Respectfully,

Anne Mitchell

2 Fernway

There are 8 Signs not 4

May 25, 2014

This excerpt from Paul Stedman, the acting Director from MA Highway describing the signage

I-95 NB

 

  • Remove an existing generic services sign prior to Exit 42 and replace it with a supplemental guide sign that provides exit details for Pleasure Island Road and generic services.
  • Install a new supplemental guide sign prior to Exit 43 that provides exit details for Market Street and generic food services.
  • Remove an existing generic service trailblazing sign on the Exit 43 off ramp and replace it with a trailblazing sign for Market Street and generic food services.

 

I-95 SB

 

  • Remove an existing supplemental guide sign prior to Exit 43 that provides exit details for Pleasure Island Road and replace it with a supplemental guide sign that provides exit details for Market Street.
  • Remove an existing generic services sign prior to Exit 43 and replace it with a 6 panel logo (food) service sign.
  • Remove an existing generic service trailblazing sign on the Exit 43 off ramp and replace it with a trailblazing sign for Market Street.
  • Install a new trailblazing sign on the Exit 43 off ramp for the 6 panel logo food service sign.
  • Install a new supplemental guide sign prior to Exit 42 that provides exit details for Pleasure Island Road.

There will be 5 existing signs that will be removed and replaced with new or modified signs and 3 new sign installations.

 

Lynn Item Article about the Signs

May 22, 2014

Chairman Nelson did not respond.

http://www.itemlive.com/news/lynnfield-board-overturns-marketstreet-vote/article_167c5048-e13b-11e3-a548-001a4bcf887a.html

A date of Infamy

May 20, 2014

May 19th, 2014, is now a date of infamy in the history of the Town of Lynnfield. On this date democracy ceased to exist. In an unprecedented move the people’s vote at Town Meeting was ignored and then negated by two of the selectman, Mr. Crawford and Mr. Nelson, in order to satisfy the needs of the Town’s “largest taxpayer”. There was no opposition at the Selectmen’s Meeting by any attending citizen regarding the requested signage for “public safety”. There were, however, numerous passionate pleas to not ignore the Town Meeting vote and to table the issue for two weeks for additional study. The pleas fell on deaf ears.

The opportunity to spread the Mall traffic between exits 43 and 42 is now gone, all Mall traffic will be directed to exit 43. I am disgusted by the defiant arrogance of these two selectmen and also by the actions of the Town Administrator, Mr. Gustus, who chose to ignore the question of why this was a “critical” matter and instead urged the selectmen to vote. The obvious urgency for their repugnant action remains undisclosed. They overruled the Town Meeting vote on this issue with total disregard for the citizens they represent.

Now, as we prepare to celebrate the Tricentennial of Lynnfield, I wonder what the reaction of the founding fathers of the Town would be to see the results of the purest form of democracy, the town meeting, just cast aside.

 

Frank Sawin

1 Fern Lane

AKA 260 Walnut Street

Lynnfield

SELECTMEN OVERRIDE TOWN VOTE – IS OUR POLITICAL PROCESS BROKEN?

May 20, 2014

Just two weeks after town meeting, our selectmen voted to overrule town vote. This is the first time in Lynnfield’s history that our selectmen have over ruled the will of the people. Our selectmen voted 2 to 3 (Crawford – Yes, Nelson – Yes, Terranova – No), to take an inactive paper road and name it Market Street. This enables the MASS DOT (Massachusetts Department of Transportation) to put up 4 signs on 128, pointing all traffic to exit 43 and naming the exit Market Street.

Several Lynnfield residents attended last night’s meeting asking for the vote to be brought back to October Town meeting, but the 2 of our 3 selectmen did not agree.   Residents attending the meeting, asked for a delay to leverage the use of exit 42 in Wakefield. Residents stated truck traffic is loud for homeowners and opening up exit 42 would help to deter the neighborhood noise. Selectmen Crawford stated this is a safety issue and we need to vote on this tonight. He also stated, “National Development is a big taxpayer” and needs to be supported. Selectmen Nelson supported these fundamentals, while Selectmen Terranova believed town meeting should be respected and the decision should be held for the October town meeting. Selectmen Terranova did not support the Selectmen over ruling the majority vote of the residents of Lynnfield.

People living in the area failed to verify the urgent “safety issue” and asked what was really going on here? There was safety concerns voiced about children/ pedestrians crossing Walnut Street to enter Market Street and pointing all future traffic to Exit 43.

In summary, last night’s vote by our selectmen was bold.   We need to ask ourselves, “Is Town Meeting respected by our Selectmen? Do higher tax payers get special treatment in Lynnfield? Is our political process broken? Can big business (W/S Development and National Development) without voting rights, sway our politicians to turn their back on those that voted them into office? Do our selectmen respect the political process, or is there something else going on?” No one knows for sure, but last night’s Selectmen’s Meeting was an eye opener……

At this time, a special “Thank You” goes out to Selectmen Terranova for supporting the residents of Lynnfield, while respecting Town Meeting and our established political process.

Kate Shea

Lynnfield Selectmen vote 2-1 to Negate Town Meeting vote

May 20, 2014

Despite pleas to “we respect you, please respect us” the Lynnfield Selectmen voted 2-1, with Board of Selectmen Chairman Nelson and member Phil Crawford voting YES and Selectmen TomTerranova voting NO to allow additional signage for the Market Street Mall on Interstate I-95.

This vote ignores and NEGATES the vote of over 591 attendees at the annual Town Meeting just two weeks ago.

Thank you,
Wally

​ McKenzie​

wam – email

Lynnfield Selectmen Plan to Override Town Meeting vote on signs

May 18, 2014

For the first time in Lynnfield history the Board of Selectmen are prepared to overrule the will of the people as expressed at Town Meeting."

At the Selectmen’s meeting on this Monday evening there is an agenda item described as:

Naming unnamed public way “Market Street”

If this is passed the following will take place:
1. This unnamed public way will then be called Market Street.
2. The vote at Town Meeting will be effectively negated
3. National Development will have their public way designation for MarketStreet
4. MA DOT will then construct the signs on 128, both North and Southbound.

It only took 10 days time for the vote of Town Meeting to be over ruled. People that contacted us cannot remember such an action in the Town’s history.

There is no indication that the Town has negotiated any mitigation for the signage.

As noted in the Lynnfield Villager editorial, National Development is getting "more for nothing".

We hope that there is some explanation for the urgency of this action at the hearing.

If you can attend, the meeting is this Monday evening, May 19th, at 7:00 PM in the Selectmen’s room at Town Hall.

Thank you,
Wally​ ​
McKenzie

Editorial in the Villager

May 8, 2014

Nice editorial in the Lynnfield Villager today, agreeing with our position on the signs.

Thank you,
Wally​ McKenzie​

Villager_2014_05_09.pdf