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8.26.16 Foreclosures Rising; Loan Modifications Efforts Necessary

Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending - http://maapl.info

According to the Beverly Citizen, a homeownership advocacy group, the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, met recently to discuss what local municipalities can do to prevent foreclosures and promote local homeownership.

 

According to the Warren Group, the number of foreclosure petitions in Massachusetts increased 13.1% in June 2016 [1,002 foreclosure petitions vs. 866 petitions filed in June 2015]. This marks 28 straight months of year-over-year increases in foreclosure starts. A petition is the first step in the foreclosure process and involves the lender filing a notice of intent to foreclose with the state's Land Court. Through June this year there were 6,616 petitions filed in Massachusetts -- a 24.4% increase from last year's 5,316 filings.

The Warren Group reports that June 2016 also was the 5th straight month with more than 1,000 foreclosure starts, a streak that hasn't happened since 2012.

The Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending alliance discussed the passage of one-sentence bill (H 4553) filed late last month by Springfield Rep. Jose Tosado designed to give cities and towns the clear authority necessary to use their health and safety powers to implement programs like pre-foreclosure mediation without expanding the rights of municipalities. Here is the entire text of H 4553:

"Except where explicitly denied by the General Laws, municipalities shall have authority to enact laws for the purpose of ensuring the safety and security of residents by minimizing foreclosures and ensuring the upkeep of vacant properties and those in foreclosure," the bill reads in its entirety.

Springfield in 2011 enacted two city ordinances related to homes left vacant by the wave of foreclosures that followed the 2008 economic collapse. Six banks that held mortgages on properties in Springfield challenged the legality of the ordinances and the case was decided by the SJC in December 2014.

In the decision written by Justice Francis Spina, the SJC concluded that "the foreclosure process is wholly a matter of State regulation absent an expression of a clear intent to allow local regulation."

Grace Ross [above, left], coordinator for the Massachusetts Alliance Against Predatory Lending, said the bill would allow cities like Worcester and Lynn to again run pre-foreclosure mediation programs that are on hold following a Supreme Judicial Court decision that questioned the cities' authority to establish such programs.

<!--[if gte mso 10]> <![endif]--> Read the entire Beverly Citizen article.

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7.30.16 Folly Hill Condo/Apartment Potential Development in Beverly

The Salem News reports that a developer is eying building on a 76-acre parcel in Folly Hill, off Route 128 in Beverly, MA.  The potential development would border two existing residential complexes - The Folly Hill Meadows Apartments and Apple Village – and add nearly 700 new apartments and condominiums.

The land, a wooded area valued at about $3.7 million, according to city assessors records, runs along Trask Lane, meeting up with the Beverly Golf & Tennis Club on one end and also abuts neighborhoods on Walcott Road, Friend Street and Sunset Drive. It also borders the Danvers town line.

According to a map in the builder’s brochure, most of the land is not developable, but it could accommodate 634 “garden-style” units and 51 townhouses. The land is currently zoned for residential use.

Mayor Michael Cahill and city officials are looking to scale down such a significant residential development.  According to Mayor Cahill, “While there are private property development rights involved here, we believe over-development on this site would not be in the best interests of the people of Beverly, so we are exploring the city’s options,”

Read the entire Salem News article.

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7.14.16 Attention REALTORS® - Home Energy Scoring Bill Hangs in Balance

After being passed in both the House and the Senate, the Home Energy Scoring and Labeling bill is now before a specially-appointed conference committee for final consideration. Although the version passed by the Massachusetts House was more acceptable from the REALTOR® perspective, serious issues remain in the Senate version which includes a mandatory energy audit before a house could be listed for sale, potentially lowering the market value of a home earning a lower score. Low and moderate income homeowners would be hardest hit by this requirement.

Click here to act now to let your legislators you oppose the energy audit provisions in the Senate version of the bill and to ask them to make it clear to members of the energy diversity conference committee that mandatory energy scoring and labeling should not be included in the final energy legislation.

Please click here to contact your state representative today about this important issue.
 

Click here for more information on this important bill.


 

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5.27.16 More Apartments Proposed for Rantoul Street

A large number of high-rise buuilding is being planned for the former Friendly's resaurant site at 480 Rantoul Street in Bevely. The proposed five-story L-shaped structure will house 90 residences and approximately 1,900 square feet of retail and commercial storefront. Beverly Crossing LLC , a joint venture involving Windover Development is heading up the project which is expected to be completed by 2018.

Read the entire Beverly Citizen article here.

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5.11.16 Lynn, MA Development Led by Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD)

 Lynn, MA
Recently, a Lynn leadership team met to discuss ongoing economic development projects in Lynn and map out future plans for growth and job creation.
The team’s official name is the Lynn Economic Advancement and Development (LEAD) and is made up of the following:
  • Congressman Seth Moulton (D-MA)
  • Secretary of Housing and Economic Development - Jay Ash
  • Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs - Matthew Beaton
  • Secretary of Transportation - Stephanie Pollack
  • Mayor Flanagan Kennedy
  • State Senator - Thomas M. McGee
  • State Representatives: Lori Ehrlich, Donald Wong and Brendon Crighton
The LEAD team was launched in November 2015 as a cross-governmental working group aimed at promoting community revitalization in Lynn by aligning economic development initiatives at the local, state, and federal levels. Designees meet monthly to review projects and progress, and core team members meet quarterly.  “When you consider the factors that drive economic development and community revitalization, Lynn has them all,” said Moulton. “From its location and transportation links to Boston, to its waterfront spaces and hardworking community, Lynn has enormous potential.”
LEAD  has been able to expedite progress on economic development priorities. Current Lynn projects include:
  1. A potential $90 million, 348-unit, mixed-use development at the former Beacon Chevrolet site - also known as the North Harbor site
  2. A potential 1200-unit housing development on a former GE Riverworks site
  3. A 250-unit luxury apartment building at the South Harbor site on the Lynnway.
Since its launch, the LEAD team has worked to coordinate community planning efforts, and enable expedited permitting and development on underutilized real estate parcels.
Read the entire press release from the Commonwealth of Masscahusetts’s Housing and Economic Development office of the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development (EOHED) department:  http://www.mass.gov/hed/press-releases/ma-leaders-discuss-economic-development-in-lynn.html

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5.4.16 Sagamore Hill (Hamilton, MA) Conservation Grant

Energy and Environmental Affairs

Sagamore Hill, a 525 acre property in Hamilton, MA that encompasses farmland, and various wildlife habitats has been awarded a preservation landscape partnership grant of more than $1 million to conserve 340 acres of open space.

The award was announced, during earth week, by the department of Energy and Environmental Affairs (EEA).  The Essex County Greenbelt Association, Trust for Public Land, Town of Hamilton, and Hamilton Wenham Open Land Trust will administer the grant.

EEA’s Landscape Partnership Grant Program was created in 2011 to facilitate large acreage land conservation projects that sustain the integrity and resilience of ecosystems, enhance the viability of farm and forest economies, and expand public outdoor recreational opportunities, while expanding partnerships among state, municipal and non-profit entities. The grant program encourages a partnership between local communities and non-governmental organizations with interest in large landscape-scale land protection investments.

“The acquisition of over 340 acres of the Sagamore Hill property will not only benefit the people of Hamilton, but the entire region, by ensuring additional land is conserved for natural habitats and for the public to use,” said Department of Conservation and Recreation Commissioner Leo Roy.

Read the entire Energy and Environmental Affairs presss release.

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