Letter to the editor: Northeastern can’t live up to aspirations

Your article about Northeastern University’s plan for Nahant passed over an important point that is of major concern to all citizens on the North Shore.

The University intends to establish a huge International Urban Coastal Sustainability study center in a residential town and is expecting that all the costs for its necessary infrastructure, security requirements, environmental concerns, and traffic issues will be the residents’ responsibility.

Northeastern does not pay taxes and has, in the past, had to have its arm twisted to pay out its fair share of PILOT fees (Payments in Lieu of Taxes) to the city of Boston and other towns burdened with the University’s expansion. Last month Nahant voters passed an override to cover, among other things, the costs that the town incurred for loans from FEMA due to flooding from last year’s storms.

The University’s polished press release makes no mention of how the Town of Nahant can absorb this 55,000 square foot facility. Overrides will undoubtedly be an inevitable component of all future Nahant Town Meetings. The United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development has promoted this definition: “sustainable development is development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

Northeastern’s Coastal Sustainability Institute is failing to live up to their aspirations even before a single bulldozer crosses the Causeway.

Elizabeth Kessin Berman

AAA Certified Appraiser


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