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Housing Watch: Housing Plan for Howley Street Factory in Peabody Withdrawn

2.20.19

The owners of a former chemical factory at the corner of Howley and Walnut streets have withdrawn a request to rezone the property so it could be converted into apartments.

Peabody attorney John Keilty asked the City Council last week to withdraw the request to rezone 26 Howley Street from General Business District, which does not allow residential uses, to Business Central, which does. The council voted in favor of the request to withdraw.

The owner of the property is 26 Howley Street Trust of Salem, trustee Patricia Flomp.

At a hearing earlier this month before a City Council subcommittee, Keilty said the building lacks commercial tenants, so the owners wanted to add two stories to the top, for a total of five stories, and convert it to apartments.

But councilors raised a number of concerns about the plan, making it uncertain that a zoning change would win approval.

One concern was that the building might be a "sick building." Keilty said, however, that it had passed air-quality tests on a number of occasions. The building was tested as required by state law, he said, when the Flomps acquired the building in 1997 and had the old tanks removed.

Ward 3 Councilor James Moutsoulas argued that the area would be better off zoned for business and not housing. And Ward 2 Councilor Peter McGinn said the building sits in a flood plain, and flooding would only get worse with climate change.

McGinn's motion — for a negative recommendation on the zoning change to the full council — passed unanimously. The Planning Board had endorsed the zoning change at an earlier hearing.

More on this from The Salem News.

Peabody

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