Open Letter to the Public Officials of Swampscott,
Ours is a seaside neighborhood. My house, the oldest house on the street, was built by Mr. Phillips, who donated the land on which the school sits. Slowly the neighborhood of wood shingle or clapboard houses were built on our hill, all in harmony with the school, and with each other. The iconic school and cupola became, and still is, the landmark and beacon to those entering Swampscott, and to many in other neighborhoods in our town.
We moved to our house 31 years ago because we wanted to live in a quiet, residential, beach community. So it is with our neighbors.
The current development proposes to house more families than even currently exist in the Greenwood Avenue neighborhood alone! The density of the development creates many problems, one of which is significant loss of privacy for us because of balconies looming over our houses, decks and gardens.
Another problem is parking. As you know, Greenwood Avenue, the highest hill in town, is narrow, steep, and winding. Some of us have no driveways and must park on the street; still there are not enough spaces to go around. People parked in the school yard in the P.M., and left for work in the A.M.when school would be in session. So, too on weekends. With this lot gone, where will current residents park? As it is, those with no driveway must apply for a permit from the Police Department for on-street parking in the winter. Then they have to scramble for spaces during a snow emergency.
Much of Greenwood Ave. has no curb for sidewalks, and we pull up high on the street’s shoulder when parking in front of our homes during the day to allow room for traffic go by. Since there are few sidewalks with curbs, pedestrians, many pushing baby carriages, face a dangerous situation because they must walk in the street.
We were told at two meetings by the developer and architect that there would be ABSOLUTELY NO IPMPACT on street parking on residents of Greenwood Avenue. We were assured that all parking for 71 Greenwood residents, as well as their visitors, would be contained under ground in a garage, and on the site.
When asked where the overflow of cars of residents of 71 Greenwood and their guests would park, Peter Kane, Chair of the responded “let hem park on the street like everyone else in Swampscott.” This, in direct contradiction to what we were told by the developer and his architect. It is no where near a solution.
Also of concern is the issue of traffic. In the past, cars for drop-off and pick-up at the school lasted for ½ hour at best, twice a day. They moved slowly as they dropped off and picked up their children. During vacation weeks through out the year and during summer vacation months, there was no school traffic at all. Recently, traffic has increased significantly; cut-through traffic from Humphrey to Forest Avenue for the middle school, and also to Paradise Road, is dense. To make the situation worse, many driving up Greenwood Avenue see the hill as a challenge to gun their motors and they speed up and over it.
We are asking you for your help, and we look to you to protect us from a project that is egregiously oversized for our neighborhood. We know a building is necessary, and we are in favor of one, but we want it to be scaled down and sympathetic in size and character to our already existing neighborhood. In so doing, many of our concerns will be eliminated. Please don’t let this project destroy the very reason we moved here.