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GA Blog: Newburyport
Showing blogs: 1–6 of 36
According to the Daily News, Newburyport’s efforts to inspire homeowners and businesses to install solar arrays on their buildings have resulted in a 6-times increase in solar panel energy, in just six months.
Newburyport was one of 17 communities selected across the state to take part in Solarize Massachusetts, a state-run program that offered reduced costs and tax incentives for solar arrays. So far, 40 residences and 6 commercial buildings had solar arrays installed, but because of the size of the arrays, the energy produced breaks down to about 50/50 between residential and commercial.
Power produced goes directly into the home or business’s consumption. If it produces more than is consumed, the power goes out into the electric grid, and the customer gets a credit for the energy produced. The increase in solar energy is enough to power about 40 homes over the course of a year, according to statistics from the U.S. Energy Administration.
Read the entire Daily News article.
The Newburyport Daily News recently reported that the Newburyport Redevelopment Authority released its plan for the central riverfront.
The proposal, which was created by an architecture group out of Providence, looks to add two new commercial buildings and green space while keeping roughly 70 percent of parking spaces. The buildings would hold commercial space on the bottom levels and would house somewhere between 30-35 living units total. The proposal is expected to pass in the near future.
The redevelopment authority is in the works of creating a request for proposal that would encourage developers to stick closely to their pre-established plan. The developers will be filling proposals for the development of the building lots only, and would not have any control over the parking and surrounding areas. The redevelopment authority expects it to take months to finish the RFP document.
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The Newburyport Current recently reported that the city is looking to connect their near 50 parks or open space areas together to make a better “network” of parks. Connecting the parks is part of the goal in the city’s 2012 Open Space and Recreation Plan, which will lay out plans for park and open space areas over the next several years.
“We don’t want [the city] to be so isolated with individual parks. We want to have connections for biking and have more trail connections. That’s a significant area of improvement for us in the coming year,” Said Andrew Port, director of the city’s Office of Planning and Development
Bike trails will already be seeing improvement with the Whittier Bridge project that will allow bikers to cross over the Merrimac River in their own lane alongside Route 95.
The Open Space and Recreation plan is still in the public input stage and will focus on the large amount of open space throughout the city (roughly 50 percent of the cities total land) and also spend some time on the upkeep and maintenance of streetscapes.
The Daily News recently reported that new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood maps will likely make developing along the waterfront more expensive in the near future, as well as increase costs to some homeowners.
The flood maps, which are expected to take effect in July, will change flood zones in Newburyport and force developers to raise structures along the waterfront by an estimated three feet. "This will not stop development, but it could make things more expensive,” said Newburyport Planning Director Andy Port.”
An initial FEMA report showed flood plains along the riverfront rising as much as 8 to 10 feet above water level. The report was appealed by the city and new findings estimated that building would need to be built three feet off the ground.
This is the first time the FEMA flood maps will be updated since 1985 and many homeowners along the river in Newburyport and on Plum Island will see changes to their property flood insurance needs. Some property owners that were never required to have flood insurance will now find themselves needing coverage from their lenders. Others will find that their flood zones have changed, requiring them to pay more for flood insurance.
Homeowners in the affected areas are encouraged to talk to their insurance carriers to find out what flood insurance coverage is best for them.
Read the entire Daily News article.
The Salem Gazette recently reported that Newburyport ’s Office of Planning and Development, Parks Commission, and Open Space Committee are looking for input from residents for the 2012 Open Space and Recreation Plan. The plan will map out the next seven years in terms of open space projects, park and playground upgrades, and staffing and management of recreational areas.
Last years the Office of Planning and Development received funds from the Community Preservation Act to help with the 2012 plan. With the money, the city hired Brown Walker Planners, Inc. to help with the plan. The group held a town forum this week to receive suggestions from the public.
You can also give you opinions on the online survey linked here: www.surveymonkey.com/s/NewburyportOSRP2012
The Newburyport Current recently reported that the John Greenleaf Whittier Bridge on Route 95, spanning the Merrimack River from Amesbury and Newburyport, is set to be replaced in a state project aimed to stat in the spring of 2013. The project is one of the state highway department of transportation’s largest under the $3 billion Accelerated Bride Program.
The 60-year old bridge will be replaced with a four-lane highway with a shared-use path for bikers and walkers called the Whittier Trail. The four-lane bridge should speed up traffic on the sometimes congested I-95 area, as well as promote alternative modes of transportation with the Whittier Trail.
Local members of the Coastal Trails Coalition have raised concern that the new trail over the span will poorly affect the current trail system that runs through Amesbury, Newburyport, Newbury and Salisbury. Although the state is placing a trail system over the new bridge, it fails to continue the bike paths in the other areas it plans to widen the highway.
The trail coalition will likely discuss the trail issues at a state design public hearing set for the spring of 2012.
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