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Selectmen, Residents Divided on Proposed Cinema

In what could be a sign of things to come, even Lynnfield's two current selectmen have differing opinions on a proposed cinema in town.

The debate over a proposed cinema in Lynnfield could become an increasingly rancorous one, with even the town selectmen currently divided on the matter.

During a two-plus hour selectmen's meeting on Monday night, dozens of town residents came out to express some very strong concerns about the specialty cinema that National Development plans to ask town meeting voters to approve in April. Ted Tye of National Development had started off the meeting with an update on the project, including on the proposed cinema. More from Tye's update can be seen here.

National Development will ask voters at the April 29th town meeting to approve a zoning change allowing an 8-screen specialty cinema that would open with Phase 2 of MarketStreet Lynnfield in late 2014 or early 2015. During his presentation, Tye presented the cinema as an important long-term strategy for MarketStreet Lynnfield - one that would be consistent with the town's character and which would have a more upscale experience than larger theaters, complete with a bar and restaurant and a premium ticketing option. He estimated that the theater would provide about $200,000 in revenues for the town, between real estate and local meals taxes.

"We don't think the theater will add to any issues that will be created here," said Tye.

Residents who came to the microphone one by one were more concerned about traffic and disturbances at the proposed movie theater - and they also repeatedly argued that a cinema proposal had already been voted down in the past. Later, it was explained that proposed zoning changes are allowed under law to come up every two years when they do not pass.

Lynnfield residents Wally McKenzie and Joe DeMaina both spoke at the meeting about their respective concerns. .

When it came to the two current members of the Lynnfield Board of Selectmen, not even they were on the same page. The third seat has been vacant since the beginning of the year when Al Merritt resigned to focus on a health condition.

Before it was over, Selectman Bob MacKendrick reported that he does not support the project - but he also emphasized that he will support whatever voters decide at town meeting.

"It is divisive to the town," said MacKendrick. "And I don't like things that divide the town and pit neighbors against neighbors." He noted that historically, Lynnfield has been able to reach consensus on difficult town issues. "I feel from my standpoint, I'm against it," said MacKendrick to applause from the audience.

Selectman Dave Nelson indicated that he supports the proposed cinema, maintaining that the town needs the revenues it will bring. "I've always supported MarketStreet, but things change. As you progress, you see things that need to happen," said Nelson. "I think the cinema is a good idea, a good step for MarketStreet." Still, Nelson also made it clear that ultimately, this is still very much a matter for the town's voters to decide.

"Go to town meeting and vote and let's get this thing done and over with," said Nelson.

With no consensus on the current board and with two contested selectmen seats in the April 8th town election, it will be appropriate for the new board to make a recommendation on the warrant article, said MacKendrick.

Looking ahead, any and all warrant articles must be filed by March 25th, and all that one requires is 10 citizen signatures. One Fernway resident raised concern about the article "sneaking into town meeting" with no time for review by residents or officials. Town Administrator Bill Gustus replied that "we would hope to get it earlier," but also made it clear that the procedures for getting an article onto the town warrant are already very specific and longstanding.

"Once again, we're asked to basically pick sides," Fernway resident Frank Riccardi told the meeting. DeMaina expressed similar sentiments elsewhere in the meeting, saying he is "distressed by the ripping of the social fabric of the town."

After the meeting, Tye told Lynnfield Patch that hearing from the neighbors was "what this meeting is about." He said he was aware of their concerns and that he had expected to them to turn out to express them. However, he also maintained that there are numerous people in Lynnfield who do support building the cinema. "I listened, I learned a lot, I try to be very respectful of what I hear," said Tye.

For more coverage of the MarketStreet Lynnfield project, click here. More news and some video from the Selectmen's meeting will be posted within the next day as well.

dinyce peters February 27, 2013 at 12:21 AM
Mike Mitchell,, Great sense of humor. And a standing BRAVO to you!!!! :)
Karen R. February 27, 2013 at 12:37 AM
After reading these posts, I fear that one of the very important points of town division, that was brought up by the Selectman and other residents, is coming true. Neighbors speaking out against one another, speaking for one another, degrading other viewpoints is not a fruitful solution, nor does it add anything to the very legitimate debate we have before us. Let's try to be civil, and listen with an honest attempt to understand what our neighbors are thinking and feeling. An on-line post may seem anonymous, but we all live closer than we think.
Peggy Lentini February 27, 2013 at 02:43 AM
John i can probably tell you where that 70k went....Its going to be part of the cinema. Did anyone else at the meeting catch what Mr. Tye said? Mr. Tye himself is an investor in this cinema project no wonder why he's fighting so hard to get this passed,he stands to make ALOT of money. I asked him specifically why 8 cinemas why not 4, his answer to me was they (Mr. Tye and the other investors) wouldnt make enough money.Hows that grab ya? well at least he was honest. In a few years he will leave Lynnfield and probably head south to some luxury development collecting huge returns to fund his retirement and we (the Lynnfield residents) will be left here dealing with the aftermath. By the way if you people who don't live near market street think this won't be a problem for you with the traffic let me be the one to burst your bubble. First , it just won't be walnut street with traffic problems think about the people coming from Peabody and Lynn they will be using salem street if 128 exit is backed up and The people coming from Reading and Middleton They will be using main and Lowell st. and Wakefield will be using Salem st. as well. What about the people getting off at the Main st. exit on 128 to avoid the backup on Walnut st. Ya just as I thought good luck with that people especially at Christmas time. Remember folks this cinema will hold over 1000 people with movies changing every 2 hours coming and going.
Peggy Lentini February 27, 2013 at 03:06 AM
Yes Nicky, your right Mr Tye could'nt care less about Lynnfield. Last night at the meeting he told us that he was an investor with a few other people who weren't even from MA. So you can see its all about the MONEY for Mr.Tye. He wants this cinema its an investment for him people wake upppppp. I predict in a few short years Mr. Tye will leave Lynnfield and head south to some luxury development living quite well collecting his big fat check every month while where here dealing with 1000 people coming and going every 2 hours from the cinema not to mention the traffic from the restaurants and stores.Oh and I can't wait to see what the traffic is gonna be like at christmas time. By the way Walnut St. wont be the only traffic problem wait til people start taking the main st exit to bypass the backup at walnut. and what about Salem st with people coming from Lynn Saugus and Peabody? What about Lowell st and main st? oh I could go on and on. You people have no idea what your in for. You wont be able to get in or out of your own town. Good Luck
Peggy Lentini February 27, 2013 at 03:12 AM
YES, I agree, Nicky is right talk to your neighbors and put a stop to this.
Linda February 27, 2013 at 12:55 PM
WOW! Mark you have some serious issues, obviously brought up with a silver spoon in your mouth. Put your big boy pants on & try volunteering in a soup kitchen in one of the towns you accuse of being garbage. When it's all over Mark it's not about where you live, what you drive, or your social status; it's about how you treat others.
Jack Conley February 27, 2013 at 01:34 PM
Some have mentioned a theater. I believe a dinner theater would be much preferred and a better fit. I also feel they're are more than enough cinema's in the area. Market St would have greater character with a live theater than cinema's.
Mike Mitchell February 27, 2013 at 02:58 PM
Updated for clarity- http://i2.photobucket.com/albums/y48/mikeishere/Movie-Sales-Per-Capita2.gif (Sorry, incompetence at Photo Bucket precludes being able to simply update/overwrite a given image file so the original had to be 404'd.)
Nicky February 27, 2013 at 03:12 PM
Craig, I understand your response. You cannot not argue any of the points I made, so you resort to the "racist" attack. I never once mentioned race. You assigned a racial connotation to "low riders and baby mamas". Those terms can be, and are, used for any skin color. You need to think about why you immediately make that connection. Maybe you should take a ride to some local malls, you'll see that baby mamas come in all colors. Low riders are usually driven by younger, inexperienced drivers, and usually without paying much attention to the road. I'll rephrase, it will attract more young punks and troublemakers from all over to cause trouble in Lynnfield. Capiche? Go check out the upscale movie theater in revere on a Friday night- yes the call it a "premium theater" - and see what I mean.
M February 27, 2013 at 03:35 PM
From articles I've read, lifestyle center restaurants like movie theatres because they drive traffic to restaurants & vice versa. It's all about bringing traffic/customers to the mall. Seems like, regardless of what the people look like who comprise the increased traffic, or what they drive, or how much they make, or where they're from, how old they are, etc., the bottom line is that there will be a lot more people and cars, many hundreds more, going into Market Street... and that is something the existing traffic & parking plans did not take into account. Can you all at least agree that lots more cars in and out of the site, at very late hours, will be bad for Lynnfield, even if the cars are all BMWs and Mercedes driven by quiet, well-to-do older upscale kinds of folks? Yes, there may be other kinds of vehicles and people, who have ages/races/incomes/lifestyles that will not be desired by some, but the bottom line really seems to be the increased traffic, congestion and late night noise (from autos & patrons) that a multiplex cinema cannot help but bring.
Mike Mitchell February 27, 2013 at 04:01 PM
Thanks Dinyce and, in case no one noticed, I even tried to adhere to original topic continuity in my selection of that particular youtube WW2 news reel of 9th AAF activity... they were bombing Cannes. ( I couldn't pass up the multiple levels of irony... hence the quip of people who worked at a bomb factory going to a cinema to see bombs having to be dropped on the premier city for celebrating ... cinema. )
John February 27, 2013 at 04:52 PM
Spot on, M. ND and Mr. Tye: Honor the original deal and promise you made to us in 2006-07 -- no cinemas! Concerned Lynnfield citizens: Attend Town Meeting and vote this irreversible addition to the MarketStreet complex and negative impact to the entire town down . . . for a SECOND time.
Wallace McKenzie February 28, 2013 at 03:22 AM
A multiplex is a multiplex. You can't zone a dinner theater. When it was proposed in 2008 it was for 360 seats and 38,000 sq ft. It is now at 800-1000 seats and 45,000 seats
linda February 28, 2013 at 04:06 PM
One other thing regarding the additional expense for police at the Market Place...in Mashpee commons, the patrols are done by private security firms like Securitas and are paid for by the retailer groups and it works very well. No extra burden to the town's police budget.
Joe DeMaina February 28, 2013 at 04:14 PM
Linda--The North Shore Mall has a police substation in the mall for all the obvious reasons. And police cost money.
Craig Foster February 28, 2013 at 07:14 PM
John, I will be there and I plan on voting YES. but for the second time it will probably get a majority YES vote but not pass because it will need 2/3rds of the vote to pass. You do know that the last time this came up a majority of the town voted in favor of it.
Sydney March 01, 2013 at 01:38 PM
Hey - WIth 180 housing units also going in along with the LIFE senior housing, has anyone (and we all know that our town officials have not) given thought to the bus routes and traffic associated with kids coming and going to school and the taffic within that complex? What about kids getting home with Move Matinees letting out?? ALSO, I suspect that some of those housing units will be within a mile of Huckleberry hill school as the crow flys. Will they walk?? It is already unsafe for kids on Walnut to walk and yet the school system indeed makes 1st, 2nd and 3rd graders (along with 4th graders) to do so
Mike Mitchell March 01, 2013 at 02:05 PM
Your divisive mention of 'majority' rings hollow when one considers that not only did every Amendment to the US Constitution require a 2/3 vote in Congress they bore the additional burden of requiring ratification by 2/3 of these United States. ... and even a bar set THAT high didn't preclude making a mistake - the 18th Amendment.
dinyce peters March 01, 2013 at 04:59 PM
Well no surprise there,l Mr. Foster
dinyce peters March 01, 2013 at 05:00 PM
An excellent point, Sydney.
Karen R. March 01, 2013 at 06:51 PM
Those kids would not be walking to Huckleberry, the town will be required to provide busing, but these are very valid concerns about the "neighborhood" they will be growing up in.
Sydney March 01, 2013 at 08:38 PM
Karen - I do hope you are right about the kids not needing to walk. There are a few "easements" for that development that are on Walnut and if a path is put in, I', not sure that they would not have to walk. Many kids take a step path behind Huckleberry to get there every day so, it's not just "road" distance that the school system uses to deterime who walks. While I am typing I will add that the sidewalks for these young kids were not cleared at the time they needed to walk to school during the last big storm and the sidewalks in the neighborhoods that they do walk thru are not cleared even now ..
Sydney March 01, 2013 at 08:40 PM
I'll add that Huckleberry will be over capacity when those units go in ... based upon the impact we saw from the appartments behind the car dealer on Rt 1
Jim March 01, 2013 at 08:42 PM
Maybe the additional $200k/year we receive from the proposed cinema could be allocated to solve the kids/sidewalks problem?
Karen R. March 01, 2013 at 09:08 PM
I live much closer to Huckleberry and my kids take the bus, so I know for sure they will not be walking even if it were safe to do so. Nevertheless, it's not safe for ANYBODY to be walking along Walnut St. and certainly not at night, and with increased traffic coming from the mall and the various bars that this new mall brings. Thank you Dinyce for calling attention to the very serious issue of drunk driving; something I hadn't even considered in this entire fiasco.
Karen R. March 01, 2013 at 09:09 PM
And I thought the 200 K was going for increased police detail. Doesn't sound like we have enough 200 K s to go around.
Karen R. March 01, 2013 at 09:11 PM
People keep saying how wonderful it will be to walk to the new restaurants; it would be a short stroll for me, walking is one of my favorite activities, but I won't be doing it, and I'll be curious to observe how many actually do.
marc bowlen March 02, 2013 at 06:02 AM
this clown got elected president by ghetto welfare crack heads turning out in mass to see one of their own kind get elected to power! Since then he passed an illegal tax in the form of healthcare mandates robbing me of my hard earned money to pay for his ghetto voters crack head babies with no daddy's then the price of gas has averaged $3.80 under Obama , it was $1.80 on election night 2008, averaged $2.60 under G.W. Bush. then this piece of garbage president hired 25,000 IRS workers in 2009 to harass self employed business owners in schemes to create revenue by stealing from hard working people to pay for his social programs, The IRS stole money from me for failing to pay for nazi healthcare mandates to support ghetto baby's, now this puke in the white house wants to grant amnesty to 11 million illegals so his democratic party can get more votes, thus wiping out this country! now this scumbag wants us to pay more taxes to pay for lazy federal employees to keep their GOVERNMENT JOBS , instead of them working in the private sector, I don't want to end up living in gutter slums like Lynn, Lowell, Lawrence, Chelsea. The Democratic party is responsible for the demise of this country! They promote dependency on big brother, rape it's hard working citizens and believe that the only people that should make a 6 figure income is a government worker!
Craig Foster March 05, 2013 at 10:03 PM
The Apartments are not going to have impact the schools as much as you think being that they are higher end luxury apartments I think you would end up with more Couples without kids than ones with kids moving in. I would be surprised if you got more then additional 50 kids coming into the school system from the apartments.
Wallace McKenzie March 08, 2013 at 01:55 AM
National Development delaying presenting an article on the cinema. Details at www.topics01940.org

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