NEWS & VIEWS

Our media database includes the latest news footage and archives of Salem Residents Association articles. Here you will find the collection of publications and reports dating from the organization’s inception in August 2020, all the way up to the present day.

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NEW GROUP NOT OBSTRUCTIONIST 

9/2/20

SALEM EVENING NEWS opinion

Not for Sale.m is a diverse group of neighbors from all over Salem sharing the same concern about overdevelopment. We’re just regular people coming together trying to figure out how to change things. We want development that is compatible with our historic neighborhoods and development that doesn’t overburden our infrastructure, city services, and the environment. The kind of development we see happening in Salem now is detrimental to all the residents of our city, especially to the elderly, families with modest incomes, and people of color. These large-scale developments are increasing the cost of rentals, and are making home ownership even less attainable than before.

The sale of several city owned properties for luxury development is extremely concerning as we talk about the housing crisis and the need to sell off additional city owned land. We strongly support the redevelopment of these buildings for truly affordable housing, but the newest proposals for Broad Street and the Superior Court Houses do not appear to fulfil these needs. In addition, the proposal for the Salem Housing Authority property at Fort Lee Terrace involves demolition of 50 units of senior housing to build 65 of the same with the addition of  159 “market rate” units in a five story building that will set a new precedent for height in that area. We need to work for better solutions.

Many thanks to the private citizens and city councilors who spent exhaustive hours diligently rewriting the recent Municipal and Religious Overlay District (MROD) ordinance. As first proposed, the MROD would have allowed for additional buildings to be built as high as the tallest existing structure on redeveloped sites throughout Salem (St. James’ steeple for example). The work of these dedicated problem solvers greatly improved the ordinance which was then passed by the council enabling redevelopment of historic properties. To call them obstructionists is to dismiss their huge contributions in getting this ordinance passed. We are proud to have some of them joining us in this coalition.

The Globe editorial sited in the letter to the editor, “Housing will test white support for Black Lives”, August 21, does not reflect the demographics of our community. Salem is not a "wealthier, better schooled" town that is closing its doors to newcomers or a "garden and golf" community that is resisting density. We are already one of the most densely populated communities in Massachusetts and our schools are in the bottom 10% of state rankings. Using this false equivalent to support zoning changes in Salem does little to protect the vulnerable people living here, and may exaggerate the educational and environmental inequality that we already see across the region.

We invite SAFE (Salem Alliance for the Environment) to work with us on these projects; many of which are planned for wetlands and floodplains. We also encourage the League of Women Voters to provide balanced viewpoints on development that will help everyone understand the risks and benefits of development and enrich our civic engagement.

Hardworking generations before us saw fit to preserve the beauty of Salem and now we invite you stand with us as stewards for future generations.

- Stacia Kraft, Alvi Ibanez, Steve Kapantais