Port designation guides Footprint site’s development

The Salem News | By Dustin Luca
May 9, 2017

SALEM — The future of Salem Harbor Footprint’s undeveloped property is starting to materialize as construction on the billion-dollar power plant nears completion.

With construction expected to wrap up this summer, Footprint officials recently briefed residents in the historic Derby Street neighborhood on the project’s status. During the meeting, they touched on what will play out on Fort Avenue after the plant goes live.

The answer, to keep it under three words, is “more development.” But even that is complicated.

“We’re in the process of putting together a plan that would show people graphically where everything would be and how it would work, and why it would make sense from a parking and traffic standpoint,” said Footprint CEO Peter Furniss. “We recognize that there’s a long process between where we are right now and realizing this plan.”

As part of the project, the company holds roughly 40 acres of undeveloped land, with 29 acres to the south of the power plant and the rest open to the north.

Almost all of the site is zoned industrial, Furniss said, with a small chunk along Blaney and Derby streets zoned residential. But the entire site is affected by “designated port area,” or DPA, zoning, which, he explained, requires the property to be used for marine-industrial purposes.

“We’re assuming that’s going to be difficult to find marine industrial purposes for the entire site — we believe we’ve found some, but having the whole site consumed with that would be hard,” Furniss said.

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