Making the Best of It


As I imagine it, somewhere in a smoke-filled room, deep in the inner sanctums of Town Hall, the Powers That Be are gathered under a single dim light bulb, chomping on cigars and deciding the fate of the Town.

“Time to decide on permits,” one growls.

“Water Street,” another grunts, flicking through paperwork.

“Yeah, the old Melanson property,” someone mutters from the shadows.

“What are you doing? Crossing yourself? Stop it.”

“It burned down! You have to cross yourself when someone talks about a place that burned down! Otherwise it can happen to you!”

“Nuts to that. It was a blessing,” another says. “That lot is better empty. Right on the river, there.”

“Nice space, empty.”

“Yeah, you can see the river. You can actually walk. It’s nice.”

“You’re such a wimp. Walking along the river. Wimp!”

“So what’s the deal on this precious square of riverfront?”

“Roger bought it. Needs a permit.”

“Why? It’s legal for two condo units.”

“So? What’s he wanna put there?”

“Three units.”

“Dang. The Town shoulda bought it when they had the chance.”

“We are the Town.”

“And we didn’t buy it.” He crushes his cigar. “Oh well.”

“Roger did a nice job dressing up the Whittier. Ya gotta give him that.”

“Yeah. And he’ll do a nice job on Water Street.”

“Sure. Water Street is gonna be a great attraction. Good for the Town economy.”

“Yeah, after we dredge.”


“Yeah, the river’s too shallow there for the cruise ships.”

“True.” He cuts another cigar.

“I also agree that the heliport is going to be a real plus.”


“Yeah, on the roof. Three stories, heliport on top. Awesome.”

“Boston’s got nothin’ on us!” He pours another whisky.

“Any objections? Hearing none — approved.”

“So what else we got tonight?”

“Well, we got a plot here on Fellows Road.”

“What’s the story?”

“Need a permit for a combination convenience store, gas station, preschool, antique shop.”

“Sounds good to me.”

“I’m not finished reading yet. Also a hardware store, a machine shop, and doctors’ offices.”

“Is that it?”

“And condos.”

“Dang. Maybe the Town shoulda bought this one too.”

“Who’s the permit for?”

“Roger. Nobody else seemed to want it!”

“What a go-getter. OK, what’s next?”

“Well, there’s a stretch of land along Linebrook Road. Nothin’ but trees.”

“Eh, people love trees. Town shoulda bought it. Who wants a permit?”

“Roger bought it. He’s thinking of a landing strip. Nothing big, just small planes.”

“OK. What else?”

“There’s a small undeveloped rectangle inside Ipswich out on Route 1. Just gravel now. Legal for a one-story business.”

“So what’s the deal?”

“Town shoulda bought it. But we didn’t. Roger got it. He’s thinking casino.”

“Oughta be great once we get medical marijuana going.”

“OK. Anything else?”

“Here’s a little triangle of property where North Main Street splits in two, heading up toward the church.”

“Yeah. Town shoulda bought it. Who wants the permit?”


“Of course. What can we approve for him?”

“Skyscraper. First ten floors, businesses. Next ten, condos. On top, satellite communications. NASA contract. NSA tie-in. National security stuff. The details are blacked out. Classified. If they tell us, they’ll have to kill us.”

“OK, good to go. Just so he doesn’t put in any sculpture.”

“No way. I think we’ve been clear on that sculpture nonsense. OK. Next?”

“That cul-de-sac at the end of Mitchell Road. Totally developable.”

“Town shoulda bought it.”

“Who needs the permit?”

“Well, Roger bought it.”

“Silly question. What’s he have in mind?”



2 thoughts on “Making the Best of It

  1. Shirley Berry

    Kudos to Roger!! He is doing what he can do because he is the ONLY person in town who can understand (and I mean TRULY understand) our mega amended zoning by-laws!!!’ He has done NOTHING illegal or wrong!!!! Maybe you will all stop just allowing these complex changes and amendments to the by-laws that are completely unneccessary and are just pushed through without many of us having a clue of the ramificTions!!
    Start paying attention!!! Little changes can have a VERY negative impact right where you live!!!! WE need to JUST SAY NO!!!’

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