City councilors pledge to appeal Amazon license | News

PEABODY – Some city officials are already pledging to appeal if Amazon receives permits for its 183,000 square foot warehouse proposal, but not because they are opposed to the project. On the contrary, they oppose the process.

Amazon has started a sitemap review with the Peabody Planning Board for a last mile delivery warehouse at 8 Centennial Drive, which is the headquarters of security systems maker Analogic.

Analogic, which has approximately 500,000 square feet of space, is looking to shrink down to a property better configured for its current and future operations, which includes a recent security scanner contract with TSA.

City Councilor General Jon Turco has said he will appeal the final building permit issued by the city’s building commissioner if the project stays on its current path, which does not include consideration by city council .

There is a different process that could take the project to the board instead. If the new facility were instead viewed as a trucking terminal by the city, it would require a special permit from the council.

Turco, who previously served as Ward 1 Councilor – which includes most of Centennial Park – said he and current Ward Councilor Craig Welton were “on the same page” on this issue. Welton did not respond to a request for comment.

If Turco were to follow through on his threat, it would only come after city councils such as the Planning Council and the Conservation Commission had completed their reviews and all the conditions for approval, and that would be followed by issuance. a building permit.

City officials say it could be a few years before these reviews are completed and construction can begin.

But it’s not about shutting down Amazon, according to Turco.

“The first thing I learned in council six years ago is that zoning is the only real protection residents have, and manipulating that zoning in any way could be detrimental in the long run.” , said Turco. “In terms of the use and location of Amazon in the industrial park, that’s not an Amazon issue for me. It’s about manipulating the zoning to make it suitable for a business or developer.

Building Commissioner Albert Talarico, City Lawyer Donald Conn and Mayor Ted Bettencourt all said the project was a warehouse.

Turco, however, believes that the Amazon project is a trucking terminal and that by approving it as a warehouse instead, the city would open all industrial areas to “warehouse” projects similar to trucking terminals.

“My goal is to protect residents from opening trucking terminals in industrial park areas of the city under the guise of a warehouse, which, due to this manipulated definition, could easily happen,” a- he declared. “This is the confusing part for me. I’m not speaking on behalf of the council, but I don’t think it would be a problem if Amazon came forward, before the council, came up with what they want to do, let the residents have their say on the matter. The board is well aware of the need to fill the space Analogic occupies and the benefits that Amazon can bring.

In an email to Turco and Bettencourt, Talarico wrote that “when considering the two definitions, an argument could be made for one or the other, as noted below”.

The email went on to define a warehouse operation as “a use engaged in the storage, wholesaling and distribution of manufactured goods, supplies and equipment, excluding the bulk storage of flammable materials. or explosives or which present risks or conditions commonly recognized as offensive ”.

A trucking terminal, on the other hand, is “a facility for receiving, transferring, short-term storage and shipping of goods transported by truck. The use would include express and other courier and parcel delivery facilities, including those operated by the United States Post Office.

Talarico said the two definitions relate to storage, distribution, and the products and goods themselves. Trucking terminals better support logistics operations, while warehouses “would be a better fit for a retailer,” he wrote.

“We concluded that a valid dossier had been presented to authorize the use as a warehouse,” wrote Talarico. “As I have done during my 17 year career as a zoning officer, I rely heavily on legal expertise to guide my decision. This approach has always served me well and I will continue to do so.

Talarico ended his email by saying that Turco may, “upon issuance of the permit, appeal my decision to the ZBA”.

Turco’s response noted that none of the definitions mentions retail, although warehouses do support wholesale, “which is irrelevant in this case as Amazon is not a wholesaler and does not manufacture any of the products sold through its platform. With that I digress. I will follow your call suggestion when issuing a building permit.

Bettencourt said the city’s legal opinion “is clear”.

“This is the right course of action,” Bettencourt said of the warehouse path. “Centennial Park was built for companies like this, and I think that fits very well with the operation that takes place in this business park. “

Asked about the possibility of considering Turco’s request and simply moving the matter to council, Bettencourt said he wanted to “go through the normal course, like any project that comes up.”

“To me it’s a warehouse, and the legal opinion has said so,” Bettencourt said, referring to Conn’s legal counsel. “He’s going to the planning board. It’s just the normal process. We have warehouses in Centennial Park that have gone this route – site plan review. It’s just town business going on a regular basis.

Contact Dustin Luca at 978-338-2523 or [email protected] Follow him on or on Twitter @DustinLucaSN.

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