NIMBY is alive and well in Manchester by the Sea


To the Editor, I wish this were a funny coincidence.  Instead, it is a clear example of NIMBY being alive and well in Manchester by Sea. 

If one looks at the addresses of each member of the town’s MBTA Zoning Task Force, it seems that NONE of these members’ streets have been included in the potential 39 acres of “MBTA zones” that would allow BY RIGHT (not even by special permit) 585 apartment units to be created!

Protecting their own neighborhoods, these thoughtful volunteer task force members have instead included streets where the average lot size is quite small, as are most of the homes that are now situated on said streets.  And so the MBTA Task Force members decided it was much better to focus on wiping out existing bungalows and stuffing apartment buildings on both sides of upper Pine Street, along Morse Court, behind the Powder House apartments over to Friends Street, in the four blocks of downtown MBTS and on the marsh lands that line both sides of Atwater Ave., alongside the nearby industrial park, medical center, the future Cell Signaling Labs overlooking Rt 128 and the traffic from their hundreds of employees.

Hey... does this mean that Task Force members have now become potential cheerleaders for the Shingle Hill Project?  It is amazing how NIMBY-minded folks can change their tune … depending on the circumstances or choices.

Pray Tell…. why have Smith’s Point, the lower end of Masconomo, Old Neck, Bridge Street, Jersey Lane, Forester Rd, Tucks Point Rd, Allen Ave, Washington, School, Forest, Dexter and Bennet Streets all been left out of the mix? 

And what about School Street or Summer Street beyond Washington?!  What about Bridge Street south of the train tracks?!

Meanwhile, just look at the numerous non-inhabited mansions that line Singing Beach, Masconomo and lower Beach Street today.  Just think how many apartments could be created within those magnificent structures!  (No new construction needed!)

What about the undeveloped acreage that still exists throughout “The Point” …land just waiting to be developed with multi-story apartment buildings scattered here and there.  A few apartment houses could also go up at the beginning of Old Neck Rd., where just woods exist today.  

And what about all of that beautiful land surrounding so many homes up on Old Neck, Jersey Lane, and Forster?  Just imagine what creative architects could do when asked to design three-or four-story apartment buildings, with or without great ocean views, throughout these sections of town.   

If these potential MBTA development districts remain unchanged, I for one… will vote to refuse the MBTA’s developers’ dream mandate.  If this means the town will have to forgo state monies in the future… so be it.  If this means eliminating the Manchester train stop… so be it.  One can drive to Beverly Farms or West Gloucester.

Those of us who live in Manchester…. but apparently on the “wrong side of the tracks”, should not put up with the NIMBY Committee’s current self-protective choices.  The preservation of their bucolic neighborhoods and homesteads, is not more important than preserving “those other” neighborhoods.  

Susan Wadia-Ells, Manchester