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

Messages from people in surrounding towns

A Salem resident shared the following inspirational video...  a must to check out.  Restoring our natural resources will help restore us and peace.  A quote in the video recalls what a great leader once said - "The nation behaves well if it treats the natural resources as assets which it must turn over to the next generation INCREASED... in value." - Teddy Roosevelt, from 'The New Nationalism' (1910), NWTR, XVII, p. 52 ....  he did not mean sustained or the same, but environmentally better, healthier, wealthier and more beautiful in life.

Messages received from surrounding towns-
"Hello and thank you for working hard against corporate and city ignorance and down right greed.  As a Salem resident, I am very concerned for the loss in Spring Pond Woods as well as what little else remains in this town and elsewhere.  Why we should have to fight against leaders and often friends and neighbors for the right to live with something as obvious as cleaner air and more trees I will never know.
I know a number of other Salemites who are ready and willing if you could provide some guidance as too what we do next. "  
- Salem Resident

"Thanks for sending us all these photos, maps, etc. as you find them. There was a Cooper's Hawk in my neighbor's backyard the other day having a meal of a Dark-eyed Junco that it snagged from the birdfeeder in my yard. This is the first time I've seen that. We often do have red tailed hawks around here, but Cooper's and Sharp-shinned are usually hunting in the woods or woodland edge. Maybe it's because there is so much snow, it's hard for them to hunt. Birdfeeders make easy pickings!"  - Salem Resident

"As a planner whose childhood was spent in Salem, I am surprised to learn that Planned Unit Development is being used for the opposite of its intended purpose in the WalMart/Leow'es proposal. PUD is supposed to foster clustered development in order to use as little land as possible for development and to preserve environments such as the Spring Pond area." - Canadian resident (formally of Salem)

"I walked around Spring Pond and wished I had snowshoes on. The snow wasn't packed down in most places and I was walking up to my knees sometimes. I saw a red-headed woodpecker at the entrance of Spring Pond by the Peabody side.  I am glad the Item recognized advocates efforts and didn't insult them like the xxxxx paper." - Lynn Resident

"I saw a comment on the Lynn Daily Item article that singled you out personally.. That is always a great sign.. you are making a difference and people are taking note. The person that commented negatively is doing nothing positive for society at all."  - Peabody resident

"there is your bald eagle, but I guess wal-mart and lowes being closer
are more important than our national symbol!"
- former Lynn and Salem resident

"Here's my response to the current situation with the Lowe's development. It's a poem I wrote a few years ago.
The Wait of Winter
You must shed your winter berries for the truth of spring flowers.
Bare the cold season of winter.
You must stand deep in the coldness of your lies; let your spirit die in pain for newness.
Create you dream of life, with all it's warmth, love, and trueness.
Let your heart live in this place.
It is here your new life begins and winter ends forever.
This is how your heart learns to live again and again.
Never dying to the coldness of life.
Always reaching for the warmth of truth.
Always knowing it's worth the wait of winter. "

            - Topsfield resident (formally of Lynn)

Thank you to all for writing.  There have been several messages received... to continue.

Here is what can be done to continue the fight:
  • Write a letter of concern to your state leader of Peabody, Lynn, Salem or other surrounding community, regarding the Kennedy Development Group project and/ or DiBiasi Subdivision in Spring Pond Woods, Salem, and how it will affect your community.
  • Appeals can be made by a 10-citizen group in Salem.  Email peace@springpondwoods.com for more info.
  • Write letters of concern to the state.  Stay tuned.
  • Subscribe to SpringPondWoods.com to receive the latest news, updates, including findings on environmental and historical resources.  Select subscribe in the side bar, by choosing RSS Atom/ 'Subscribe in Mail'  or by entering email address in side bar.  (Subscribed emails are unable to be viewed by this site...)
  • Email peace@springpondwoods.com to subscribe to an Action List.
  • Continue with petitions.  Hand-signing petition (found here) and invite others to sign online petition:  www.change.org/petitions/save_woods_of_salem
  • Join facebook.com/SpringPondWoods and invite others.
  • Share your news or letters here by emailing peace@springpondwoods.com
  • Spread the news!

peace on

News Articles

Reuters, January 25, 2011
Lowe's laying off 1,700 managers (then hiring parttime hourly staff)
Link:  http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/01/26/lowes-idUSN258036420110126

New Rules, ongoing...
Communities Battle Big Boxes  (and winning)
Link:  http://www.newrules.org/retail/taxonomy/term/12

Thank you to a couple friends from Lynn and Salem for sharing these links.

News Articles: legal action

Lynn Council seeks cap on legal fees in big box battle
by Thourgensen for the Daily Item, January 27, 2011

Lynn taking legal action over Salem's Lowe's plan
by Matthew K. Roy for the Salem News, January 27, 2011

Lynn City Council OK's lawsuit over Salem Lowe's project
by Matthew K. Roy for the Salem News, January 26, 2011

News Articles: January 26th, 2011

Lynn council sanctions big box lawsuit
by Thor Jourgensen and David Liscio for the Daily Item, January 26, 2011

Walmart surrenders in Civil War battlefield fight, Virginia 
(Thank you to all who signed this online petition.  Please note, ours is still active)

News Article: Lynn may sue

Boston Globe
Two cities at odds over Lowe's plan
by David Rattigan, Globe Correspondent, January 23, 2011
article:  boston.com/yourtown/salem/articles/2011/01/23/lynn_may_sue_salem_over_lowes_project

Letter to the Editor: Fight against big box will continue

Letter to the Editor of Daily Item:
Fight against big box project will continue
by Leslie Courtemanche, January 19, 2011

The fight will continue, and thank you to the Daily Item for not being insulting to the advocates of the environment, and having respect towards people regardless of township.  

peace on

Another battle to save an historic wilderness

Others around the US have signed our petition to save our wilderness.  Please check out this national petition to US Senator Jim Webb and Mark Warner, urging them to ask Walmart to relocate away from an historic Wilderness Battlefield in Virginia.   This message was received in my personal email today, through subscription to an historic preservation group:

Speak out against a Walmart on Hallowed Ground

Wilderness Battlefield in Orange County, Virginia.  Help us convince Walmart to relocate their proposed Superstore.
We need your help TODAY to turn the tide in our favor in the fight against Walmart to save our hallowed Civil War battleground.Sign our petition to US Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner NOW urging them to ask Walmart to relocate away from historic Wilderness Battlefield.

Time is running out.

We have been fighting for years to protect the hallowed ground of Wilderness, but with a court trial to decide major issues in the case starting on January 25th – just 7 days from today – we are at a critical juncture.

United States Senators Jim Webb and Mark Warner are champions of historic preservation and their leadership in support of 
Wilderness Battlefield could make the difference in finding a win-win solution.

Construction of a Walmart store, within the boundaries of Wilderness Battlefield and just across the road from Fredericksburg & Spotsylvania National Military Park in Orange County, Virginia, would irrevocably harm the battlefield, degrade the visitor’s experience of the National Park, and open the flood gates for large-scale commercial development.

sign the petition to Senators Webb and Warner TODAY as we urge them to ask Walmart to relocate its Superstore to an alternative site away from the battlefield – one that still meets their business needs but is more respectful of our Civil War history.

With your help, we can win the fight to save an important part of America’s heritage.

Thank you for your support.

News Article: Lynners fought the good fight

In the Daily Item, is a respectable article regarding the fight on the Big Box plan.  Hats off to the Item for writing both sides of the story during the last 9 months, with class of not knocking any town down.  Thank you Daily Item.  Many knew the plan would pass at the Salem Planning Board, and that the fight will need to continue at higher levels.  The fight has not ended, and thank you to everyone (in Lynn, Peabody, Salem, and in other places) who is still fighting the good fight.

Lynners fought the good fight on Big Box plan
Editorial in the Daily Item, January 18, 2011 (click to view)

Salem business - THE TEXT AMENDMENT

Remember this video, by Joyce Jr. Production... 
Paving over Salem: Driscoll's Corporate Priority
An informative video presenting the impact of the proposed Lowe's/ Super Wal-mart in Spring Pond Woods, and Salem's re-Zoning to make it all work.

To better understand the 'text amendment' zoning change, the following quotes are taken from meeting minutes from a Salem Public Hearing on Sept. 3, 2008.

"The catalyst for this ordinance amendment was the talk for the development of Camp Lion and Walmart" said Lynn Duncan, Salem City Planner.  She also said "the Planning Board needs to look at the requirements regarding traffic, run off, density and that there is no overall impact in the area that it's in harmony with the area."  (harmony, huh?)

Driscoll adds "it's preliminary but we have been approached by Lowe's."  "We need to avoid a piece meal approach.  We want to make sure this works for everyone.  This is a text amendment." (avoid piece meal approach, huh?)

Councillor Sargent - "that on the other side of Swampscott Road you always get 500 signatures against development."  (I guess the Lynn/ Peabody side does not matter, and neither do the hundreds of petitions gathered here :(
Good Councillor Sargent then stated "this is an ENDRON around zoning."

Councilor Sosnowski asked "if Loew's could come in with the current zoning?"
Lynn Duncan stated - "no

Attorney Correnti - "Abutters are notified if there is land being rezoned.  This is amending the Planned Unit Development text."  (Abutters did not have to be notified?)

Attorney Sarno for Camp Lion of Lynn- "Major concern is to be a good neighbor to the City of Salem" (How about the other cities?)

Councilor Furey- "We need to have confidence in the Planning Board."

"no public comment"  (one question!... Is this spot zoning?)

News Articles: Salem board votes for big box

Boston Globe
Planning Board approves Salem Lowe's project, by Sean Teehan, January 14, 2011
Link: boston.com/yourtown/news/salem/2011/01/planning_board_approves_salem.html

Daily Item
Panel passes Big Box plan, by Sean Leonard, January 14, 2011
Link: itemlive.com/articles/2011/01/14/news/news02.txt

Vote in

The latest news:  The Salem Planning Board has approved the Super Wal-mart/ Lowe's project in Spring Pond Woods by the Lynn/ Salem line.  For those who may be happy or sad, try not to be.  The good fight is not over yet.  There are other agencies this project must go through at a local, state and federal level.

Thank you to everyone who signed the petition, wrote letters to Salem City Hall, collected signatures, shared information, and above all cared.  Efforts will continue, and notifications and updates will be posted here.  The collection of signatures and writing of letters is not over either.   

peace on

Letter: 20 reasons Salem Planning Board should vote against Lowe's project

Salem News view

Here is the opinion of the Salem News, in favor of the Lowe's/ Super-Walmart project, which will destroy the wooded area, wetlands and hurt regional residents.  

I've published their view here... now lets see the Salem News publish a letter to the editor concerning Camp Fire being in jeopardy... its the truth based on quotes from different sources.



Last call for action- before Planning Board meets Thur

Please sign online action letter to help preserve Spring Pond Woods... Help preserve recreational sites, historic resources, the environment, wetlands, watershed, wildlife habitat, nearby neighborhoods, and existing businesses.  There are many signatures from Mass: Salem, Peabody, Lynn and surrounding towns.  Please share this message. http://environment.change.org/petitions/view/save_woods_of_salem  

News Articles: Big Box hearings

Boston Globe
Lynn Officials Criticize Salem Lowe's project

Daily Item
Big Box proposal to be voted on Jan 13

Planning Board moves to vote at next public meeting

Salem Planning Board meeting
Thur. Jan 13, 7 pm
City Hall Annex, Room 313
120 Washington Street

Meeting is open to the public no matter zip code.
Please come even if you just want to listen.

Snow date:  Jan 20th

Brief notes from the Planning Board Meeting, Jan 6

Presentation by Wal-mart and Lowe's representatives:

Sound isolation wall
At presentation, Planning Board would like to ask Lynn neighbors what color they want the 15' high wall their going to looking at up the hill, be.  Another Planning board member asked why can't more evergreens be planted in front of the wall to hide it, but the answer to this was that there is a downhill from the wall that will not cover it.  A suggestion to the neighbors was to plant evergreens in their own yards (?).

Response by Mr. Demakis, a property owner abutter - he would rather look at nature than a wall.

Wal-mart loading dock noise
Addressing the neighboring Salem Condominiums- In the end, there is a noise ordinance in Salem, and Wal-mart will have to follow it. 

Response by board member of Condos- Thanked proponent for consideration of concerns and asked to not have vegetation removed.

Bus stop
MBTA does not want on-site bus stops, and wishes them to be on Highland Ave.

Engineers say looking at the lights on Rt. 107 is not the correct solution to solve traffic.  A proposal the engineers think will work is to have a 2-way turn center travel lane, like at Rt.114  (at the curve, sloping downhill, on the Lynn/Salem line, where highway speeds change.)

Response by Dan McIntyre, member of Lynn Traffic Commission - Two way center lanes are commonly known as a 'dead man's lane', and try to avoid using them.

Response by Lynn Councilor William Trahant - Lynn has worked in the past years to fix the road and lights on Western Ave, so they are already designed properly.  (The road was reduced from a 4 lane to a 2 lane to reduce tragic accidents which typically occur here from excessive speeding of cars traveling down Highland Ave from Salem after leaving a higher speed travel zone.)

Response by Mayor of Lynn, Judith Flanagan Kennedy - Speeding is an issue, and adding another lane will increase the problems for Lynn.  Lynn's neighborhoods at the edge of the Salem boundary, do not have another way in or out of the area other than traveling through Western Ave.  It is necessary for the area residents to be able to move into and out of their roads without further problems.  Lights are needed to help the residents.  The mayor summed up my thoughts on the curving, downslope at the Lynn/ Salem line, where highway speeds change.  I do not think the engineers thought this one through, and do need to experience the site instead of through paper studies.  This road is not flat or straight like Rt. 114.   I do believe this will be a deadly solution, and do not wish it regardless of any proposed project.

Continued with discussion for traffic study, looking at the intersections of Marlborough Rd to Swampscott Rd and beyond to Pep Boys, it is concluded that these conditions need to be studied more using an Engineering Corridor Study.

Next meeting - Thursday Jan. 13, 7 pm
Planning Board will vote on project.
120 Washington St., Salem Annex Bldg., 3rd fl

DiBiasi subdivision

Here are a few files on the DiBiasi subdivision.  Comparing the environmental impacts to the Kennedy Development Group (Lowe's/ Super Wa-lmart project), there is much to be concerned with the total impact to wetland areas, watershed and archeological resources.

State DEP  EOEA #: 13865


Salem Meeting Minutes


One of the issues stated in the Environmental Impact Reports, which strengthens a concern of the entire wooded area (not just piece-mealing project sites), is...  

  • "According to MHC's review of the Inventory of Historic and Archaeological Assets of the Commonwealth, there are two recorded ancient Native American archaeological sites within the project area. Several other ancient archaeological sites have also been found in the immediate vicinity of the project area. MHC has requested that an intensive (locational) archaeological survey (950 CMR 70) be conducted for the project."

Map of Spring Pond Woods, remaining wooded areas.
Approximate location of DiBiasi parcel, in relation to Camp Lion.  Boundary traced over mapping extracted from Mass GIS.  Mapping drawn in Vectorworks Designer (Architect/ Landmark/ Renderworks), by yours truly.

DiBiasi subdivision.  Image via records.
Phase 1 of DiBiasi project began blasting and building off Marlborough Rd, Salem.  Photo taken in Spring 2010.

If these projects are looked at together, concerns will rise:  Impact of blasting to entire area (concern for natural springs, fracture in bedrock and nearby structures), impact to wetlands and watershed areas including waterways to Spring Pond, traffic increase, loss of important regional wildlife corridor, loss of wooded areas,  etc.


Salem News Editorial: Busy city needs oasis of sanity

Read more here.

Bald Eagle sightings in Salem

On December 27, 2010, Mass Audubon bird sightings reported for Salem show a Bald Eagle.  The concern and mystery grows.  In November, two naturalists claimed to of seen a juvenile Bald Eagle in the area of Spring Pond Woods threatened by big-box stores.

To search the archives of the Mass Audubon, go to this link and scroll down to December 27- last paragraph, where this entry was found.   www.massaudubon.org/Birds_and_Birding/sightings.php?type=archive#eastern

Double doomsday - Salem Public Meeting, Thur. Jan 6

On the agenda for the Salem Planning Board's public meeting is the Strongwater Crossing Subdivision by DiBiase and the Super-Walmart/ Lowe's project by the Kennedy Development Group... both proposed in Spring Pond Woods on the Salem Side.

Salem Planning Board meeting
Thur. Jan 6, 7 pm
City Hall Annex, Room 313
120 Washington Street

Meeting is open to the public no matter zip code.
Please come even if you just want to listen.

Sharp-shinned Hawk

Thank you to a friend of a friend who shared this photo of a bird-of-prey, believed to be a Sharp-shinned Hawk*, listed as a Special Concern Species in the Natural Heritage & Endangered Species Program in Massachusetts.  This hawk was seen on a deck of the same home twice, which faces Spring Pond on the edge of the woods.