Justin Whittier‎ toFederal Street Neighborhood Association5· Here is the letter regarding the proposed zoning amendment on the docket at tonight’s Joint Public Hearing:

We, the Board of the Federal Street Neighborhood Association, have voted to support the proposed zoning amendment for the Municipal and Religious Reuse Special Permit (MRRSP). It must be clearly understood that our support is for the proposal in its amended form as submitted to the City Council and Planning Board on June 12, 2019, not in the form to be found on the City Council’s website, and that, should changes be made, our support could be withdrawn.
The MRRSP is a reasonable solution to the problem of vacant nonconforming buildings which lack a path for redevelopment due to their former exempt status. Many of the important changes urged by the public and councillors during the prior MRAROD process have been included in the MRRSP. Most importantly, the MRRSP removes the concern about expansion of the buildings to be redeveloped and focusses on what should be the the objective: preserving and reusing vacant historic buildings. The Council and Planning Board should, however, carefully consider the impact on our downtown parking lots, as the MRRSP does still contain a provision to allow developers to supply part or ALL of their parking in those lots and not on site.
We would like to thank the Planning Department and Tom Daniel in particular for the willingness to listen and respond to concerns from the public prior to formal presentation to a Joint Public Hearing.
We would also like to thank Historic Salem, Inc, which has provided valuable feedback.
In endorsing this MRRSP, which is a follow-up to and replacement for the MRAROD and is a better proposal, it is appropriate to recognize and to thank those councillors who afforded us this opportunity by voting against the MRAROD. There was a great deal of doom-saying when the MRAROD was voted down and a great deal of sharp — sometimes vituperative — criticism for those councillors. We believe this proposal vindicates their vote.
Signed,
The Board of the Federal Street Neighborhood Association