A meeting last week of Lynn residents living off Highland Avenue by the Salem line produced nothing but angst as officials on both sides of the Salem-Lynn borderline failed to assuage those who believe the planned Lowe’s/Walmart box project is going to ruin home values, cause flooding and intensity traffic.
“Everyone in the area of the development is concerned and they should be,” said City Council President Tim Phelan.
“This is a situation that requires the developers to give something back to those who are likely to be impacted by an enormous development of this kind. Presently, it does not appear the developers are willing to offer anything – and that is wrong,” Phelan added.
Mayor Judith Flanagan Kennedy has apparently gone on record opposing the project but has been reticent about having a sit down meeting with Salem Mayor Kimberley Driscoll.
The planned project is expected to create hundreds of new jobs and to stimulate the local economy by putting to work unemployed tradesmen and laborers.
However, local residents say they are dreading the traffic implications of a new Lowes and a re -invigorated Walmart on this part of Highland Avenue.
Ironically, the mayor lives on Buchanan Road, exactly within the proposed development’s nexus.
Her neighbors are up in arms about traffic, which has plagued Highland Avenue for the past 25 years.
While Highland Avenue expanded its business and commercial footprint, few efforts of the meaningful kind have been made to mitigate the traffic on this major artery connecting Slame and Lynn.
In addition, the neighborhood affected in Lynn lies at the bottom of the Highland Avenue hill.
Fears are that water runoff will be increased dramatically by the paving of the development area and by the failure of the developer to provide for water runoff mitigation efforts to ensure area homes will not become flooded during heavy rains.
“Primarily, it is the traffic. Secondarily it is home values. Lastly, is the potential drainage problem,” said Phelan.
Everything must be studied, he said, or the city will likely go to court to stop the development until the neighborhood’s concerns are satisfied.
Councillor at Large Dan Cahill is a Belleaire Street resident. He is opposed to the development.
“This is a total disaster for the city of Lynn,” he said. “The developers have made no solid commitments about the environment, traffic or drainage.”
Councillor William Trahant sad the project would ruin the roads and negatively impact drainage.