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4.28.15 Gas Pipeline Proposal in West Peabody

Bike Path in West Peabody

According to the Salem News, the Tennessee Gas Pipeline Co. is seeking federal approval to build a natural gas pipeline beginning in Dracut and running from Middleton through West Peabody to Danvers.  It would intersect Peabody wetlands, as well as the bike path known as the Peabody Independence Greenway (pictured above) and link to an existing Maritimes and Northeast conduit in Danvers, near Rosewood Drive.

Any plans must first be approved by the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC).  

Wayne Castonguay, executive director of the Ipswich Watershed Association, is a lead opposition to the project.  Castonguay stated “our big concern is the construction impact,”  In places, the pipeline will run right alongside the Ipswich River and also will cross a dozen streams leading into the river.  “And there’s to be a 50-foot maintenance area,” he said. Trees will come down as that section “is forever converted to grassland.” He fears that herbicide will be used to stop growth.

Pipeline builder Kinder Morgan spokesman downplayed the concerns. “We follow the best industry practices,” said Richard Wheatley. “The project is being permitted by the FERC in a very stringent way. All these issues will be addressed.” Wheatley stressed the need for the pipeline, based on “increasing demand for clean energy in the Northeast and New England.” 

Natural gas is a clean-burning fuel that could replace coal or nuclear power plants, he added. Moreover, by making more gas readily available, he predicted that “consumers would pay less for heat and electricity.”

In Peabody, the mayor has assigned Michael Rizzo, vice chairman of the Conservation Commission, to begin a process of educating the public and other city officials on what’s coming. “We want to bring the community together,” he said, emphasizing that because of the density of development in West Peabody, including private homes, the pipeline would have to cross environmentally fragile areas of the city’s ecosystem. 

The conversation commission is meeting on Wednesday, May 6, 2015 at 7pm.  Mayor Ted Bettencourt is urging Peabody residents to attend. Meetings are held at the City Hall Lower Level Conference room.

Peabody Conservation Committee:

Read the entire Salem News article.

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4.19.15 Lynn 5-Year Community Planning Forums

Lynn, MA

The City of Lynn’s Office of Economic & Community Development, the Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development, and the Citizen Advisory Board is having a couple community forums to discuss community needs.

The Community Forums will provide an introduction to the City of Lynn’s Five Year Consolidated Plan and give the public an opportunity to express its views on the community development, economic development, public services, and housing needs and priorities in the City of Lynn over the next five years.

Here are the days/times of the following Community Forums:

Tuesday, April 21, 2015 | 6:00-7:30 PM  Lynn Museum, 590 Washington Street, Lynn, MA 01901

Tuesday, April 28, 2015 | 6:00-7:30 PM — Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development Community Room, 10 Church Street, Lynn, MA 01901

Full Flyer:

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3.24.15 72 Apartments Planned on Rantoul Street, Beverly, MA

Windover Construction is looking to build 72 apartments and ground-floor businesses at 131 Rantoul St.,where this building now stands

According to the Salem News, Windover Construction is looking for approval to build a 5-story apartment building at 131 Rantoul Street, with businesses on the ground level and 72 apartments on the top four floors.

The site is currently home to only a few businesses, including Lahey Health Behavioral Services in a three-story building at the sidewalk’s edge.  There is currently open pavement and parking to either side, along with O’Neil Fine Builders and EZ Auto Body to the left.

The 72 apartments will be a mix of studios, 1-bedroom, and 2-bedroom units.  Most of the units will be priced at market rate, with nine (9) below market “affordable” apartments.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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3.17.15 Commonweath Conversations Comes to Lynn

State Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr, left, and State Senate President Stan Rosenberg, right, listen to State Sen. Thomas McGee

According to the Lynn Item, state lawmakers have been traveling across Massachusetts for a series of Commonwealth Conversations, visiting 8 regions of the state with stops in several communities in each.  The delegation visited Eastern Bank headquarters in Lynn recently and conducted a roundtable discussion and presentation on the city’s economic development efforts and goals.

With a third of the state Senate and local business and city officials, the group discussed MBTA Blue Line expansion, the success of the Lynn commuter ferry, plans for a Market Basket, and other Lynn downtown revitalization efforts/plans, including efforts to develop the waterfront.

The presentations had common themes: encouraging people with disposable income to want to visit and live in Lynn and the region, and making it easier for these people to get here.

Read the entire Lynn Item article.

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3.9.15 Habitat for Humanity Lottery - 2 Ipswich Condos

6-8 First Street, Ipswich, MA

Wicked Local reports that Habitat for Humanity is building two affordable condos at 6-6 First Street in Ipswich, MA.   The two, 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom duplex condominiums (“condexes”) will be side by side in one building, originally built in 1890 as workforce housing for the Ipswich mills.  The interior, currently in terrible condition, will be gutted and rehabbed. The exterior will be restored to what it was historically. 

Habitat has already built three homes on Essex Road, across the street from the Bruni Market Place.

The town took the First Street property for nonpayment of taxes and the property is now part of the Affordable Housing Partnership, said Terry Anderson, affordable housing coordinator.  The town put out a request for proposal to rehab the building and chose Habitat for Humanity.

Each condo is to be sold for approximately $130,000, at no interest.  

The homeowner will be chosen by lottery among qualified buyers - those who live or work in Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham or Rowley.  The chosen buyer will be requires to spend 400 hours of construction duties as a condition of the purchase.

There are income requirements - the family’s total gross income must fall within the specific ranges based on family size: Three members, $33,880 to $50,820; four members, $37,640 to $56,460; five, $40,70 to $61,020; and six $43,700 to $65,520.

The application deadline is April 30.  

Read the entire Wicked Local article.

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2.23.15 Danvers Downtown Zoning Planning


Intersection of Maple and Locust streets in Danvers, MA

According to the Salem News, the Danvers Planning Board is looking at ways to rezone downtown Danvers to create a new gateway to Danvers Square from Route 62.  They are focusing on the compact 0.3 square mail industrial area in and around Maple, Hobart and Locust streets, with a slue of industrial, commercial and retail businesses, including several eateries.

Senior Planner Kate Day and Planning and Human Services Director Karen Nelson say the area is unique, with large parcels and lots of parking that make it different from another industrial zone at the other end of the downtown on High Street.

A lot of the discussion/debate has been whether to take a piecemeal approach to rezoning the downtown, first focusing on this off-to-the-side industrial area, or whether to rezone the entire downtown commercial corridor from Route 62 to Route 128 to allow for a mix of businesses and residences in the same building, which is not currently allowed under current zoning laws.

The town is working with the Metropolitan Area Planning Commission on the Maple Street industrial zoning study, thanks to $15,000 grant from the state Department of Housing and Community Development.  Planning Board Chairman Jim Sears said tackling the downtown commercial zones would involve getting input from businesses, property owners, tenants, residents, and the Downtown Improvement Committee. It would require time and money to do research, hold workshops, and call public meetings to gather input.

Read the entire Salem News article.

Watch a walk around the industrial-1 zone in downtown Danvers, from which the Planning Board wants to create a mixed use district:

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