EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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December 4, 2013

Salem to expedite project reviews

Developers claim town is slowing construction

(Continued)

They were concerned about creating an old boy network, where favors would be granted by one company to another and the quality of work could be compromised.

“The tie will go to the developer,” Campbell said. “Letting them just choose concerns me.”

Goodwin said he doubted that would happen because professional reputations would be at stake.

“They are on the hook to make sure these things are correct,” he said. “They are putting their stamps on the line.”

Goodwin and Hickey said allowing consultants to review projects would give the town staff more time to conduct inspections, but would not result in a large cost savings to the town.

“This is really to streamline things and makes things run smoother,” Goodwin said.

Robert Duval, chief engineer of TFMoran Inc. in Salem, said hiring third-party consultants is becoming more common in Southern New Hampshire, including Londonderry and Pelham.

“A lot of towns are doing that,” he said. “I’ve been advocating it for a while. Delays in inspections are a problem in general.”

David Bryan, president of Blackdog Builders in Salem, was skeptical. He said it would be tough for some builders to foot the additional cost for project reviews.

“That’s a lot of money to do that,” he said. “Every builder works on a tight margin.”

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