GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

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December 10, 2012

New consultant tackles land potential on Conomo Point

ESSEX — Town officials, still locked in a legal challenge regarding bridge lease hikes and other issues tied to Conomo Point, are wasting no time with the conceptual plans for the northern Point area, inviting the urban design firm Brown Sardina of Boston to give its input.

Former selectman Mark Lynch, who chairs of the Conomo Point Planning committee, said this was different from the presentation done by Tainter and Associates, which was done just two years ago.

“This is driving down into the design aspect, it’s more detailed,” he said during a phone interview Friday. “Taintor presented what could be done, the options we had.”

James Heroux, principal design architect with the planning firm, said that Conomo Point can only have about 90 bedrooms to comply with the Title 5 septic system standards, using roughly 10,000 gallons of water used a day.

Heroux said the Thursday night forum was predictable, considering his review of background information about Conomo Point earlier this year.

“This is a real polarizing issue,” he said Friday. “We’ve got people who are passionate from either side of the fence.”

Heroux said the amount of public input was great, adding that Lynch did a good job of making sure the forum was civil.

Some of his plans he presented on Thursday included public restrooms, improved seawalls and piers, as well as public use structures.

Essex resident Roy Turnage, who attended the presentation and question and answer segment, said he was impressed with some of the idea of the new consultants.

But Turnage, who does not live in Conomo Point, said more details would have helped.

“If I’m redoing my kitchen for $5,000, I would go to Lowe’s and see dozens of computer generated images,” he said Friday. “We’ve only seen five power point slides and this project is much bigger.”

Turnage added if the plans were posted on the town website and people were able to comment on them before the forum, everybody would benefit.

The next forum is set for January, although no date has been set.

To view Heroux’s plan, visit essexma.org/Pages/EssexMA_Selectmen/CPR/BS1.pdf.

James Niedzinski can be reached at 978-283-7000, x 3455 or at jniedzinski@gloucestertimes.com.

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