Lynn City Council Votes to Fund Two Planners


December 3, 2019
By Gayla Cawley/The Daily Item

 The City Council voted Tuesday to authorize Mayor Thomas M. McGee to hire two temporary city planners.

The city has been without a planning department, or city planner, for more than two decades. 

The positions will be funded with $675,000 worth of gifts from the Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn (EDIC/Lynn), the city’s development bank; MassDevelopment, Eastern Bank Foundation, Gerondelis Foundation, and the Barr Foundation. 


The panel voted to accept the gifts, which will cover the salaries of a contracted principal planner and associate planner for the next three years. The full-time positions will pay $115,000 and $90,000 respectively each year. Neither consultant will be paid benefits, according to City Council President Darren Cyr. 

“At the end of three years, we’ll make a decision to create a planning department if it works for us,” Cyr said.

The positions will be posted and hires are expected to be made within a month, Cyr said. The planners will be appointed by McGee, but the appointments have to be approved by the City Council. 

The planners will work out of the mayor’s office, and will work with EDIC/Lynn, the city’s Department of Community Development and Inspectional Services Department. They will provide support for the Planning Board, Zoning Board of Appeals and City Council. 

Although the positions will be funded with gifts for three years, Cyr said there’s no such thing as free money. 

“It’s temporary,” Cyr said. “In the end, we’re going to have to budget these positions if we want to keep them.”

Principal planner candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and five years of related work experience. Associate candidates must have a bachelor’s degree and three years of work experience. A master’s degree is preferred for both positions. 

The City Council also voted to declare 16-18 St. Clair St. a nuisance property and issue a demolition order. 

But Cyr said a 120-day delay was issued on the demo order to give the landlord, Travis Sachs, time to clean up the property. If there have been no changes to the noise and disruptions coming from the three-family home, Cyr said the city will proceed with demolition. 

The property has been the subject of numerous complaints from neighbors, who say school buses honk their horns repeatedly in the early morning hours to alert tenants of the home who don’t have their kids ready for school in the morning. The kids live in Lynn, but are being bused to out-of-district schools.

A neighbor, Cheryl Gay, said there has also been late night music and safety concerns such as overdoses and physical alterations coming from the home. 

The tenants at 16-18 St. Clair St. were placed by Centerboard through an agreement the nonprofit’s CEO Mark DeJoie had with Sachs. Cyr said he was told the landlord’s agreement with Centerboard has ended and the tenants are expected to move out by the end of the month when the nonprofit’s lease is up. 

“This property has been a nuisance,” Cyr said. “It’s unfair that people’s daily lives are being disrupted at the expense of someone else.” 

DeJoie and Sachs did not attend Tuesday’s meeting.

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