Trahant Calls Salem Development “a total disaster for Lynn”

Posted on September 15, 2010

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A typical Lowe's storefront in Santa Clara, Ca...

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Yup, we’re talking about that development on the Lynn/Salem line where the existing Wal-Mart is to be expanded and a Lowe’s Home Improvement store is planned to be built. And no, no one has seen a signed purchase-and-sales agreement for the land yet, although Lynn City Councillor-at-Large Dan Cahill said the members of Camp Lion voted 31-1 earlier this week to go through with the sale.

Tonight, the East Lynn Community Association hosted a 2 hour discussion of the proposed development among Lynn residents. First Cahill told the audience that he doesn’t want this framed as a NIMBY issue because it affects all of Lynn. “We’re not anti-development,” he said. We’re pro-planning. There are other places to build in Salem.”

Then Ward 2 Councillor William Trahant contended that Cahill was “sugar-coating the truth”–the project will ruin our roads and wreak havoc on the already problematic drainage in the area. Katarina Panagiatakis, founder of Spring Pond Advocates, enumerated the environmental threats posed by the development. Saying that the current Wal-Mart is already built on marshland, she speculated on the impact that a larger impervious surface would have on the site. “I don’t know if we can dry out this land anymore,” said Panagiatakis.

Ward One Councilor Wayne Lozzi spoke though he wasn’t a scheduled speaker, emphasizing that Lynn needs professional help in getting “potential” vernal pools and wetlands officially classified by the state. In answer to the question of what leverage Lynn has in stalling the project, he said that the city could block water and sewer permits. Various audience members proposed lawsuits.

Amanda Richard from Senator Thomas McGee’s office was also present. Though his office currently has no official stance on the issue, she was there to gather information. She indicated that if the Salem project affects surrounding towns, the state might have to get involved in some capacity.

City Solicitor James LaMatta sat in to offer points of information. Thor Jorgenson from the Lynn Item was there with Owen the photographer. He did not volunteer his last name. The audience swelled from 40 to 50 midway through the meeting.

The Salem Planning Board is meeting tomorrow (Thursday) at 7:00 PM at City Hall Annex, Room 313, on 120 Washington Street. The Walmart/Lowes development will be on the agenda. All three speakers at tonight’s meeting encouraged audience members to attend, and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers will be demonstrating before the meeting.

Notable quotes

Lozzi: “If I could vote to hold up this project for 5 or 10 years, I would do it in a heartbeat. 10 Lynn residents have standing [because their property will abut the development] and can appeal.”

Cahill: “The developers have made no solid commitments about using union labor, the environment, traffic or drainage. If this goes through, we’re going to be paying for years, like the power lines.”

[Editor’s note: in the interest of full disclosure both myself and Katarina Panagiatakis are board members of the East Lynn Community Association. No parties in favor of the development were invited to speak, although ample notice of the meeting was given to Lynn and Salem media outlets.]

Discuss amongst yourselves.

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Posted in: local government