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1.13.17 Gloucester Receives Grant for Elderly Housing Rehab

The Gloucester Housing Authority has been awarded a $6.3 million grant by the Department of Housing and Community Development to conduct needed repairs and updates to the McPherson Park building as part of a state-wide elderly housing improvement program.

Gloucester Housing Executive Director, David Houlden applauded the receipt of the grant saying it was "a great day" for the residents of McPherson Park and the community.

Click here to read the related Gloucester Times article.


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1.6.17 Danvers to Consider 40R Development Proposal

The Town of Danvers could receive up to $1.2M over time in incentive payments from the state if it moves forward with a plan to create its first 40R overlay district. The plan would involve rezoning approximately 14 acres just north of downtown.

The state's Department of Housing and Community Development has offered to make a $350,000 zoning incentive payment in return for increased density and development of business, market rate dwellings, and affordable housing units within a new "Smart Growth Zoning District". Currently 283 new dwelling units are being proposed but a mix of businesses would also be included.

Click here to read an article from the Salem News on the proposal.


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1.6.17 City of Beverly to Host Public Meeting on Zoning Changes

The City of Beverly Planning Department will be hosting a public meeting about a proposed zoning amendment for the Bass River area adjacent to River Street and the Bass River.

The meeting will take place Thursday, January 19th starting a 6:30pm in the City Council Chambers at Beverly City Hall, 191 Cabot Street.

The plans propose development that is transit oriented and incorporates a mix of land uses in an attempt to meet the objectives of the Bass River Study and Beverly Master Plan.

This will be the second public meeting on this issue and the public is welcome to attend and make comment.

More information about the Bass River Area Study, including a full copy of the report, can be found on the Beverly Planning Department web page at




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12.5.16 Haverhill Real Estate Company Fined $70,000 in Housing Discrimination Case

Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey

The WHAV 97.9 website reports that Haverhill real estate company, Andover Portland Avenue Associates, LLC, was fined $70,000 resulting from a housing discrimination involving two tenants with disabilities.

In 2014, the Massachusetts Architectural Access Board found the 96-unit Casco Crossing apartment complex in Andover, MA did not comply with building code accessibility requirements.  Andover Portland owned and operated the apartment complex until May 2015 and will be forced to pay two tenants of Casco Crossing apartment complex $20,000 each and pay $15,000 to the state to resolve allegations the company violated state anti-discrimination and consumer protection laws, according to Attorney General Maura Healey.

The complaint alleged the following:

  1. Andover Portland failed to design and construct the apartment complex to meet accessibility standards required by law
  2. One tenant requested several accommodations, including a wheelchair ramp to access the building, grab bars in the bathroom, a handicap-accessible toilet and parking, among other things. Andover Portland allegedly failed, in each instance, to “engage in an interactive dialogue and unreasonably refused to provide the modifications or accommodations.”
  3. Andover Portland also allegedly ignored and failed to address requests from the mother of another tenant with several disabilities for “reasonable” modifications, including an automatic building door opener for wheelchair access and “prompt removal of ice from the sidewalks in the winter.”

The tenants claimed they suffered emotional distress, were unable to access common areas and parts of their apartments, and incurred certain additional expenses.

According to Attorney General Healey: “People with disabilities regularly face barriers to housing choice and opportunity. This settlement demonstrates our continued commitment to enforcing our fair housing laws to ensure that property owners and managers work with tenants with disabilities.”

Read the entire WHAV 97.9 website report.

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11.2.16 Chapter 40B Senior Housing in Ipswich

Town Farm Road Chapter 40B Senior Housing in Ipswich

According to the Ipswich Chronicle, there is a proposed senior housing development for a 40-home, 20-building complex in Ipswich, to located at 30 and 34 Town Farm Road, with access from Locust Street.

The housing development would be a Chapter 40B affordable housing subdivision, with 25% affordable housing.

MGL Chapter 40B allows builders to bypass local housing zoning restrictions,  including density, as long as the building project includes at least 25% affordable housing.  Communities with 10% of their housing stock qualifying as affordable are exempt from 40B developments.  Ipswich would be subject to Chapter 40B with approximately 8.5% of the town’s housing stock currently qualifyng as affordable.

Ethan Parsons, senior planner, estimates that Ipswich would need between 70 and 80 more affordable units to meet the 10% affordable housing goal.

L.A. Associates Inc., of Wilmington, a firm that guides 40B developments through MassHousing and then manages lotteries for affordable units, has filed a MassHousing application for the development and has notified the Ipswich Board of Selectmen.

The parcel is 7.2 acres with approximately 10% wetlands.  Current zoning would limit a development to between 8-10 homes, if built in a cluster development, which is allowed.  Cluster developments increase allowed density if the developer “clusters” homes more closely together than traditional zoning would allow and leaves a larger portion of the land as open space.

Read the entire Ipswich Chronicle article.

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9.12.16 Peabody Mayor Moves to Increase Affordable Housing Stock

Mayor Edward J. Bettencourt Jr. wants the state to include in-law apartments and group homes in its count of affordable housing stock. Massachusetts General Law Chapter 40B lets developers of affordable housing override certain aspects of municipal zoning by laws in cities or towns where less than 10 percent of housing qualifies as affordable. Following the 2010 census, Peabody fell below the 10 percent threshold. Mayor Bettencourt would like to seek to change the state's Chapter 40B law, specifically, counting in-law apartments and group homes as affordable housing and has written a letter to state Reps. Ted Speliotis (D-Danvers), Thomas Walsh (D-Peabody), and state Senator Joan Lovely (D-Salem) concerning the suggested changes.

Click here to read an associated article from




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