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7.6.15 73 New Condos in Beverly Cummings Center

Cummings Center condominium complex

According to the Salem News, the Beverly Planning Board recently approved a six-story, 73-unit condominium complex in the Cummings Center, at the corner of Elliot and McKay street, with construction beginning this summer.

Plans call for 65 two-bedroom and 8 one-bedroom units, which will be high-end condominiums.  Originally, a hotel was planned for the site ten years ago, but Cummings eventually decided condominiums were a better fit with so many activities to do around the area.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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6.25.15 Affordable Elderly Housing in Wenham

Wenham Elderly Housing project

According to the Salem News, the Wenham Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a 60-unit elderly affordable housing project on a 3.5 acre lot on Maple Street in West Wendham, 

The developer, Harborlight Community Partners, headquartered in Beverly, specializes in assisted living, elderly and family housing on the North Shore.

The project must still work its way through an appeals process and secure funding.  There is a 20-day appeal period for the ZBA decision, The project is currently facing an appeal on its Board of Health approval.  That appeal is based on the septic system used on the property, which Hill said will be discharging 6,600 gallons of sewage into a 20,000 gallon septic tank and leaching field on the 3.5-acre site.

Opposition is also concerned about the dollar amount attached to the sale of the property, should Harborlight buy it from its present owner, and the use of public funding to pay for the site’s construction.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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6.23.15 Peabody Officials/Residents Oppose Gas Pipeline

Peabody Mayor Ted Bettencourt









The Salem News reports that a June 23rd meeting at City Hall, Peabody officials and residents were aligned in their opposition of a new Tennessee Gas pipeline in West Peabody.

The project, called the Northeast Energy Direct project, is being proposed by the Kinder Morgan Co., which provides the mechanisms to supply natural gas from their customers, such as National Grid, to their customers’ consumers. According to the company, a “dramatic” increase in demand for natural gas has created a need for additional pipeline infrastructure.

The new pipeline will expand an existing line from Dracut through Middleton and West Peabody into Danvers. Right now the project is only in a discussion stage, with company representatives discussing the situation with local representatives and community members.

Points against the gas pipeline included: (1) a lack of direct benefits to Peabody residents, (2) the damage it could do to the bike path and the Ipswich River, Peabody’s water supply; (3) and safety issues with the potential for a devastating explosion 

Kinder representatives stated in their defense that Peabody would benefit from the project, citing (b) a hike in tax revenue for the town — in the amount of $25 million, though they later said that was the statewide total, and (b) the creation of 3,000 union jobs, and (c) that it would provide a longtime energy line for residents, should they chose to convert to natural gas.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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6.18.15 Hamilton Land Purchase Policy

According to the Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle, the Hamilton Board of selectmen are currently working on a new land acquisition policy that is designed to help the town better react to acquiring properties classified under the state’s chapter 61 program, along with other properties subject to the town’s right of first refusal.

According to the summary, the policy would “…establish a set of procedures and criteria for acquiring interests in land for open space preservation, water supply protection, recreation, or municipal purposes.”

Chapter 61 is a program offered by the Commonwealth in which property owners are offered a property tax cut in exchange for keeping their property undeveloped and operating with at least some minor agricultural use. Property owners who sell their land while still enrolled in the Chapter 61 program, however, are often subject to their city or town purchasing their property before the general market along with potential fines.

Hamilton Selectman pointed to contentious discussions surrounding a prior proposal by the town to purchase the 86-acre Pirie property, commonly known as Aquila Farm, in 2013, as an example of the need for a new policy.

Read the entire Hamilton-Wenham Chronicle article.

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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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