Welcome. A moment-to-moment story...

Quick Note

I would like to say thank you, to everyone who has contributed in advocating to preserve the portions of this beautiful area that is threatened in Spring Pond Woods.  There may appear to be a few leaders among the cause, but fortunately it has been favored with the actions and voices of many.

Me- I'm just an outspoken free individual (who loves history and nature), who hopes to preserve this beautiful environmental/ historic/ and highly potential 'sensitive' archaeologic area.  I'm a philanthropist too, who cares about the people who will be affected, especially the children of Camp Fire who might be displaced by the proposed Lowe's.  As for the struggling American economy, I wish better jobs were created for people and the executives and owners of big companies did not soak enormous amounts of income.

Although the center of communication may seem to be me... there are many who are working on things.  I have only opened a public forum for the side of preservation, and by no means am I an organizer of any group :)  I like this 'group'... who ever is in it.  It consists of many free individuals who are contributing in their own way and talent, to a common cause that affects us all, whether one lives near or far, or on one side of the line or other.

If you have any thoughts, ideas, or events you wish to organize, feel free to share those thoughts here.  

Salem Public Meeting - Sept 30

Please come to the Salem Public Meeting, even if you just want to listen.
Topic of discussion is engineering issues such as drainage, renderings and site lines.

Thur, Sept. 30
7:00 pm
Salem Public Planning Board Meeting
Salem Annex Building
120 Washington Street, Salem, 3rd fl, rm 313

In the news....Letters by former Mayor of Salem & Residents of 3 cities

Letter:  Salem has too much to lose from increased development
Salem News, September 29, 2010
~ by Anthony V. Salvo, former mayor of Salem
                                                  Read more here

Letter:  More 'FACTS' regarding the Lowe's project in Salem
Salem News, September 29, 2010
~by various residents of Lynn, Peabody & Salem
                                                         Read more here

peace on

Letter: from Rev. Dr. Bill Simpson

Do proposed developments pass four-way test?
~ by Rev. Dr. Bill Simpson
Guest Commentary, Daily Item
September 28, 2010

BPD+PUD rezoning amendment

In August of 2008 a letter regarding the Proposed Zoning Amendment at the time was drafted, highlighting Camp Lion as a charitable organization with 74.34 acres, to be rezoned into an 'ALL USES' lot.   The video below talks about this special "Text Amendment" change.   What is interesting under the Special Permit criteria (p. 2, point 3.), that is required:  "The planned unit development would not result in a net negative environmental impact."

Lets assess the environmental impacts:
  • “’Big box’ stores such as the proposed Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are large energy users and generate considerable traffic, both of which result in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change.”  ~ The Secretary of State said in a letter to the developer on Feb. 19, 2010: www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/mepacerts/2010/sc/enf/14532eenf.pdf
  • Wetlands impacts
  • Loss of 20-30 acres of trees (estimate includes 15 acres sold to Lowe's from Camp Lion; 4 acres given to retailer from Salem Public parcel; additional acres given to Walmart to expand; additional acres of Camp Lion given to Salem (public) for tower; additional acres of Camp Lion land cleared for new 'camp pad'.
  • Wildlife habitat impact
  • Loss of human environment, in reduction of open-space
  • Loss of human environment, in potential historic & archeological resources
  • Increase in impervious surfaces
  • Increase in flood area 

Making facts out of Lowe’s fiction

Letter to the Editor:  Making facts out of Lowe's fiction, The Daily Item,  Sept. 24

  • "In addition, the project will generate an additional 5,960 average daily vehicle trips (adt) for a total of 13,292 adt and a total of 17,716 vehicle trips on an average Saturday." 
  • “’Big box’ stores such as the proposed Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are large energy users and generate considerable traffic, both of which result in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change.” 
Reference The Secretary of State's letter:  www.env.state.ma.us/mepa/mepacerts/2010/sc/enf/14532eenf.pdf

Environmental pollution

Economic studies-

Text from letter in paper...
Making Facts Out of Lowe’s Fictions
We appreciate the opportunity to make our community aware of the real facts, in response to the “FACTS” provided by the executives of Lowe’s Companies, Inc. Northeast Real Estate Division in the editorial, “Lowe’s committed to community” (The Daily Item, Sept. 21, 2010) and the editorial "Record shows Lowe's can and will be a good neighbor" (The Salem News, Sept. 22, 2010).
In response to the executives’ statement that the “Lowe’s Project Has No Direct Infrastructure Connections to Lynn’s Water and Sewer System”, one must wonder why Lowe’s further admits that “conversations with Lynn Water & Sewer are ongoing.” Although there is no “direct” connection into Lynn’s system, there is no refuting the fact that water flows downhill and will enter into several catch basins in Lynn.  This is just one more example of how Lynn, through its ratepayers, is subsidizing this Salem project with no benefit to Lynn (not to mention the Salem sewer system on Highland Avenue cannot keep up with the flooding from a rain storm ~ just my notes).

As for protecting the environment, be weary of Lowe’s relying on its award winning  “Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan”. Not only was Lowe's fined $137,500 by the Environmental Protection Agency for failure to adequately control storm water run-off at 4 Massachusetts construction sites in 2003, it was most recently fined by Mass DEP in April, 2010 for polluting groundwater in Pembroke and another Lowe's developer was penalized by Mass DEP in May, 2010 for violation of a wetland in Hadley. Lowe’s misleads us on the reliability of its award-winning pollution prevention plan, evidenced by these most recent failures. How can the residents of Peabody, whose water supply is Spring Pond, be assured its drinking water won’t be victimized by Lowe’s next environmental disaster?

Regarding the issues of traffic for the Super Wal-Mart/Lowe’s project, no substantive proof of how mitigation will improve traffic in this area has been provided to Salem, Lynn, or its residents. When asked about traffic increases at the most recent Salem Planning Board meeting on Sept. 16, Jason Plourde, an engineer for the project, told the audience the increased amount of cars along Highland and Western Avenues would number between 1,000 and 2,000 a day. This does not echo the letter written by Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs Ian Bowles on February 19, 2010 in response to the development’s Expanded Environmental Notification Form submitted on Jan. 6, 2010. The Secretary’s letter states:  "In addition, the project will generate an additional 5,960 average daily vehicle trips (adt) for a total of 13,292 adt and a total of 17,716 vehicle trips on an average Saturday." Further, it states “’Big box’ stores such as the proposed Lowe’s and Wal-Mart are large energy users and generate considerable traffic, both of which result in significant emissions of greenhouse gasses that contribute to global climate change.” The “FACT” is Lowe’s manipulates the “FACTS” to ease the concerns of our communities without care of accuracy or consistency, but we don’t need lip service, we need the truth, something Lowe’s is apparently not willing to pay for.

Finally, the executives of Lowe’s state as ”FACT”,  “When you really think about it, competition keeps us all on our toes.” What they mean here is competition between Lowe’s and Home Depot, or Wal-Mart and Target, is what keeps them on their toes. These big box retailers decimate locate small businesses and have a take-no-prisoners approach to market share. While Lowe's is headquartered in North Carolina, our local businesses that keep their profits local will be pushed aside. Where will the economic gains from this development go? Answer: to top executives and in this case... out of state. Lowe’s executives estimate this project will “bring up to 150 new jobs”. Is this really creating new jobs, or is it a transfer of jobs from local businesses that will close and layoff their workforce? We don’t blame the trades unions for supporting this project. We all know these workers and their families are devastated from this economy, but we stress the fact that this project has a long way to go in terms of permitting and state approval. Anyone who believes this project will be up and running within a year or two is being misled. Don’t fall for a bad project in bad economic times, just to face the negative effects when good times come rolling back.

“FACT” is, this project does not belong at that location, but when have Lowe’s and Walmart ever let a “FACT” get in the way of a bad development?

Leslie Courtemanche, Judy McCarthy, 
Deborah Smith Walsh, Katerina Panagiotakis
Elizabeth N Devereaux
Cynthia Stamatopulous
Scott Morgan


Letter: Not Happy with Councilor's Attitude

Letter to the Editor:
Not happy with councilor's attitude
Salem News, Sept. 24, 2010

Concerning the Sept. 20 article about Lowe's foes launching an e-mail campaign, I think it's ironic that Salem Councilor-at-large Joan Lovely seems to be berating out-of-state and out-of-city concerned citizens for their opposition to the Lowe's/Walmart/Meineke/Water Tower project.

Ironic, because (read more here...)

"archeologically sensitive"

Remember all the 'crazy' talk here of the site being a 'potential' Native American ground?

Although there have been no previous records with the State (...actually I don't know this), discoveries can be found at any time. 

Here is a letter from a Senior Archeologist, at the Massachusetts Historical Commission, written in 2008, stating: "portions of the property may be archeologically sensitive".   

Please Camp Lion and City of Salem (property owners), call for an archeological dig to investigate, and apply for cultural grants in preserving this land.
Click on image to view...

peace on 

                                                                                                                                    ~ Katerina

Alternative Site Considerations?

These past alternative site considerations for the project are found on salemcitizens.org.  Site 'A' is the Transfer Station, which is now proposed to become a new sewage trash dump.  Not sure how old these drawings are, or why Home Depot and Target is pin pointed on here?  Although, it can be seen, that the areal in the drawing is at least taken from the year 2007 or earlier, because the roadway for Apple Hills is not present.  
Click on images to view.

The following drawing indicates the City of Salem zoning for the areas in pink to be BPD.  Were these drawings created before the 'text ammendment' zoning change of BPD to BPD+PUD?  As it appears, can a retailer call for a "Selected Site" on a BPD zone?  

From a statement made in the Salem Public Hearing on Sept. 3, 2008, between Salem Council and the Planning Board, it states - "The catalyst for this ordinance amendment was the talk for the development of Camp Lion and Walmart. No Plans have been submitted as of yet." (?)  
Meeting minutes:  www.salem.com/Pages/SalemMA_CouncilMin/2008minutes/S022875FF


Letter: Former Mayor of Salem

Daily Item, Guest Commentary 
by Anthony V. Salvo, former mayor of Salem
speaks in opposition to Big Box 'development' and
speaks to preserve nature.
Sept. 22, 2010
(Click to view article, then again to zoom in)

MAXIMUM IMPACT! - Letter to Salem officials

Dear Salem officials,
I won't just copy and paste what has been said on the newspapers and on the internet, but instead share some of my words with you all. Please do not go any further with this Lowes/Walmart project. I currently reside in Danvers, but I grew up in the Fays Estate in Lynn, and my parents currently still live there. I travel to Lynn through Salem multiple times during the week, as not only do my parents still live there, but so do many of my friends that I visit, my church that I attend, and a language school that my daughter attends weekly. I travel on Highland Avenue, and past Walmart, many, many times, and I can tell you first hand how horrible it is to drive through your city. The flooding in front of Walmart is atrocious, the traffic is horrendous, and the sight of all of the stores is ghastly. You have taken the beauty from Salem and destroyed it. If you think that you at least have some historic areas, why even bother advertising for tourists to visit your city when you won't keep the rest of the city beautiful? Why not have pride for your entire city?
Stop thinking of your own political agendas, and start respecting your neighbors, because the value of the nearby homes will decrease, my parents home included. Property tax will decrease, and that will hurt the city of Lynn. Do you care?

You say that this project will help with jobs, but do you realize that they are small scale, minimum wage jobs with high turn over rates. And if the smaller businesses like One Way Lumber, Highland Gardens, Tri-City Sales and Special Thoughts go out of business (and the other big box store Home Depot), that offsets the newer jobs available from Lowes. Not that many new jobs will be available from Walmart, because that store already exists in that location. Will that many new jobs really come from this project? Not really.

Simply put, Salem is a horrible place to drive through. Traffic from North Street, over the bridge past your new court house, down to Washington St., or right onto Highland Ave past the Judge's house (or witch house as many call it) is always crowded with cars and tourists, or resident walkers. Traffic only gets worse past the school and hospital, and Target, and leading into Lynn past Walmart. Timed stop lights won't make this any better, and adding bigger stores won't make it any better. The traffic that already exists in this location is a huge inconvenience to not only the residenst of Lynn, but to Marblehead, Swampscott and Nahant as well. Are you thinking of them? Do you even care that your city is becoming a nuisance to so many other towns and cities?

This project isn't just about trees, and animals, and plants and history. It's about neighbors, and businesses, and camps and little children. Traffic jams, and flooding problems that will only get worse. Think about it, the earth that absorbs the water and lets it drain will be replaced by tar and cement. The water won't drain, and it will flow forward, to the streets of Highland Avenue.

Why can't this project open in a different location, where it won't affect smaller business and already clogged roadways? Where it won't affect the value of people's homes, and where it won't take away a camp for the children.

It seems like you city officials are just being selfish for Salem, but this project puts Salem in a very bad light. But who cares anyway? Not any of you, that's for sure.

Please think about it. And scrap the Lowes/Walmart project.

Thank you for your time,
Johnna Aggelikas

In the news....Letters to the editor

Salem News, Letter to the Editor
by Beckie Christie, Salem resident
Sept. 22, 2010

Salem News, Letter to the Editor
by Lowe's executives, (residence?)
Sept. 22, 2010

another feather collection

Someone shared this collection of feathers they have picked up from the site over the past year.  A few of the names are being verified and will be posted at a later date.    Please feel free to comment here if there is a feather you might identify.  (Photos of feathers will be retaken and posted again.)  Click on each image to view and again to zoom in.


Letter: Lowe's makes comments in the Daily Item

Here is a Guest Commentary Letter in the Daily Item, 
by the executives of Lowe's, dated Sept. 21, 2010.

If you believe these "FACTS", hold on.  
I could offer a rebuttal to this right away, and many probably know what it would be if you've followed the real facts linked here.   A collaborative rebuttal between several of us will be posted here soon.  (Update:  Here is the rebuttal. Click on link- Making facts out of Lowe's Fictions )

Believe it or not - tax loophole?

Someone shared this very important documentation...
"Rolling Back Property Tax Payments: How Wal-mart Short-Changes schools and Other Public Services by Challenging Its Property Tax Assessments".  

In the documentation, among many studies, on page 11 the following is reported:
During the past year, Wal-Mart has been the target of much criticism over reports that the company uses a real estate gimmick to avoid paying millions of dollars in state corporate income taxes. The controversy erupted in February 2007, when the Wall Street Journal published a front-page story revealing that the giant retailer was putting many of its stores under the ownership of a real estate investment trust (REIT) controlled by the company.  The stores would pay rent to the captive REIT and deduct those payments as a business expense.  This trick, essentially paying rent to itself, reduces the company’s taxable income and thus lowers the amount it pays to state governments. An April 2007 report by Citizens for Tax Justice estimated that Wal-Mart had thereby avoided some $2.3 billion in state income tax payments between 1999 and 2005.  Numerous state legislatures have been taking action to try to close this loophole."

The report maybe found online
or by clicking here: www.springpond.us/WalmartTaxReport.pdf 


For the Highland Ave project in Salem:
The Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust is listed along with the Kennedy Development Group, Inc., etc. in the City of Salem Council Meeting Minutes for June 11, 2009.  The following is quoted...


Quote -  "This company, Wal-Mart Real Estate Business Trust, is organized as a real estate investment trust, which is crucial to the tax savings. REITs are exempt from income tax if they plow most of their profits back to shareholders, which, in this case, is mainly Wal-Mart. (Such "captive REITs" differ from publicly traded real estate trusts, which are owned by numerous shareholders.)"  ~ ReclaimDemocracy.org


Click image to view document...

Here are some other facts from wakupwalmart.com:
Walmart's Wages
Walmart's Healthcare
Walmart's Impact on Communities
Walmart's Cost to Taxpayers
The real facts about Walmart's Traffic Impact
Abandoned stores
Anti-Worker (Anti-Union) Policies
Wage and Hour Law Violations

Peace on

In the news.... Mayors to Meet over Big Box differences

In the news....
Mayors to Meet over Big Box differences
Daily Item, September 18, 2010

It would be interesting to know if Salem Mayor Driscoll has the courage to tell the MAPC that officials who care about their constituents homes and/or the environment are being "selfish", as said in the Salem News.

I believe, there can be nothing more American and selfless than this.

Who will meet with the Spring Pond Advocates to mitigate environmental and historical concerns?  And what about Peabody officials? 

MAPC contact:
Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC)
60 Temple Place, Boston
Phone: (617) 451-2770

peace on

Public Parcel included - Let me Repeat

Sorry for the repeat post, but I feel as though the public should be aware that there is Salem Public land involved/ traded for the proposed 'development' to occur.  Officials of the City of Salem are not making this very clear... see here.

This drawing, shows the ownership of the parcels.   Salem's Public Parcel of 4 acres (which was once the Camp's parcel taken by eminent domain) will become a Lowe's parking lot, access road and part of Super Wal-Mart's lot.  (click on images to view.) 

Land Swap- City of Salem is transferring the Salem Public parcel to the retailer.  
Camp Lion is then loosing more land to the City of Salem. 

The proposed Lowe's -  siting over a Salem Public parcel, Camp Lion parcel (pristine woods and wetlands). Super Wal-Mart will propose a similar negative environmental impact, as ledge and trees will be blasted around the site.

More acres of trees will be lost with the new 'camp pad' on Camp Lions, clearing the land for new facilities:  buildings, pool, parking lots, fields, etc.

News of Salem Public Hearing

Unless one is at these Salem Public Meetings, the newspaper articles will not give one to fully understand the chemistry and arguments of the entire meeting.  The articles however are a good start to get bits and pieces of what was presented by the proponents, and a few comments by the audience.

What was presented at the Salem Public Meeting by the proponents, on the discussion of traffic, does not echo what the The Secretary of State reports in the EENF :  (maybe I just don't get it )
"In addition, the project will generate an additional 5,960 average daily vehicle trips (adt) for a total of 13,292 adt and a total of 17,716 vehicle trips on an average Saturday."

Lowe's battle continues
Salem News, September 17, 2010

Big Box Snarls Salem meeting focus
Daily Item, September 17, 2010

This last meeting froze and angered most at the same time.   The heat mostly took off after Salem Ward 3 Councilor Jean Pelletier caused a stir with his comments.   There were many great arguements said in opposition to this which did not make the papers (understandably).

I was not surprised when Salem Mayor Driscoll said in the Salem News (click here) not so long ago, that this deal is between 2 private parties.  But I was shocked to hear in last nights Salem Public Meeting, some of the Salem Councilors continue to repeat the same notion.   Excuse me, but there is 4 acres of Salem public land involved.

Salem Public Meeting

Many think this cause is going well, that the City of Lynn will sue and take care of it; that Spring Pond Advocates are working on it; that this project sounds like it will never pass considering all the impacts....
but we all need YOUR HELP. Please help make some noise.
Reminder: The Salem Planning Board meeting is tonight!

The Salem News has asked the Salem Planning Board to "..not allow itself unduly pressure from politicians, wildlife advocates and others..".  Please come to the Salem Public Meeting, even if You just want to listen.

Thur, Sept. 16
Salem Public Planning Board Meeting
7:00 pm
120 Washington Street, Salem, 3rd fl

Salem Chamber of Commerce event

This morning, educational flyers were placed on the vehicles outside of the Salem Chamber of Commerce event, concerning the proposed trash dump in Salem.  Most of the people who attended the event, picked up the flyer, absorbed their breakfast and left.   Here is a video shared by someone of what appears to be a Northside Carting employee, removing the flyers from cars.   If the flyer is informative, why remove it?  

It is important for Salem businesses to know that The Salem Chamber of Commerce Coffee Connection was hosted this morning by Northside Carting, the same company introducing the new trash dump not far from these woods and surrounding homes, businesses and a school.  Here is a link to a cause created by Salem business owners to stop the garbage...stopthegarbagenow.com

It is also worth knowing that The Kennedy Development Group, who is introducing the Walmart/Lowe's scheme affecting these woods and surrounding homes and businesses,  is a member of the Salem Chamber of Commerce.  And the Northside Carting Inc. is too. 

More events to come today!  
Salem Public Meeting at 7pm
120 Washington Street, Salem - 3rd floor

The news is out of control.

The amount of news being generated lately is out of control.
It is becoming overwhelming to hold back the news reports, so here they are...

Big Boxes branded 'disaster'
Daily Item, September 16

Lowe's claims it will 'make things better'
The Salem News, September 16
Lynn Side Edition, September 16

Blog:  Trahant calls Salem Development a total disaster for Lynn
Lynn Side Edition, September 15

Opinion:  Salem council takes another step backwards
Salem News, September 15

Big Box developer offering project changes to address local critics
Daily Item, September 15

Opinion:  Can Lowe's be a good neighbor?
The Salem News, September 14
Daily Item, September 16, 2010

Letter to the Editor: Big box plan is bad all around
Daily Item, September 16, 2010

p.s. The Salem News confuses me.  Last week the Salem News editor(s) wrote in favor of Big-Boxes, then in today's news the editor(s) write with a big heart for small business.

Hawk siting... must be a 'sign'

This image of a hawk resting on a sign at the corner of Buchanan Circle and Western Ave, near the Lynn/ Salem line, was submitted today by someone driving by.  This must be a 'sign' of some sort where it landed.  Truly home prices will be reduced in this area, and where will the wildlife go?

Latest news-

It is said Councilor Paul Crowley has resigned from Camp Lion, after Camp Lion has decided this week to continue with the deal made with the Kennedy Development group to construct a Lowe's/ Super Wal-mart which will negatively impact surrounding neighborhoods.

A BIG thank You to Councilor Paul Crowley for supporting the cause!!! :)

The councilor may not be a Camp Lions member anymore but he certainly is lion-hearted!