GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

October 6, 2012

Letter: Don't let another developer dupe city


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the editor:

I attended the Oct. 3 meeting of the City Council’s Planning and Development Committee about the Beauport hotel proposal, I read the separate Times article, “Broken promises lead to closing, Five Guys owner says” on Page 1 of last Thursday’s Times — and I’m concerned.

We have been told time and again what a “success” the Gloucester Crossing has been, and how great it is for the city.

Now don’t get me wrong, I love Market Basket and shop there all the time. But let’s remember that a Tax Increment Financing — or TIF — package was given to the Crossing with the promise there would be a Holiday Inn Express and an assisted living put in there.

Well, where are they? When I go to the Crossing, I see a lot of empty storefronts, and now with Five Guys gone, there is one more.

When the proponents of the Crossing were first talking about it, they were saying how “wonderful” it would be for the city and how the revenue from it would “save” our schools, “open” our fire stations, etc.

Well none of that has happened. The city was promised an assisted living and a Holiday Inn Express, and in return the city gave them a tax break. Had Mr. Park applied for a TIF solely based on Market Basket, would it have been approved? Based on the fact that Mr. Park had to pour the pad for the Holiday Inn in order to qualify for the TIF, I think it is safe to say the TIF would not have been approved. It seems to me that the city has been duped by this developer.

Now before the city, is the Beauport project — another “miracle project” that will “save” the city, and bring in tax revenue that can help save the schools and open the fire stations.

At the P&D meeting, however, Councilor Tobey asked Beauport about the deed to the beach and if the city would get it. The response I heard from Attorney Cunningham was something along the lines of once Beauport got what they wanted (their permits), then they’d be up for “discussing” the ownership of the beach with the city. Beauport Gloucester is claiming that it owns to the low water mark).

I beg of the city, please do not fall for any more empty promises or rubber checks made by developers.

Gloucester has maintained the Pavilion beach since the 1900s and, according to a memo from the city solicitor on Nov. 16, 2010, “Since at least 1833 Pavilion Beach has been used continuously, openly and notoriously as a public beach. The city acquired prescriptive rights to the beach, and the beach has been held as a public beach since that time.”

The Pavilion beach belongs to Gloucester, not to Beauport LLC! The city must clear this up and secure the deed to Pavilion Beach before any permits are granted to Beauport.

Don’t let Gloucester be duped again by another developer!

JENNIFER JOHNSON

Gloucester