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1.16.19 Housing Watch: Residential Development Proposed for Controversial Highland Ave Site in Salem

Salem officials confirmed Monday that a controversial proposal to build an entertainment complex at 355-373 Highland Avenue in Salem has been withdrawn. Ward 3 City Councilor Lisa Peterson made the announcement on her Facebook page Monday night and said the city was in the early stages of reviewing a new proposal for the property, which was listed for sale last February.

Peterson said there was a new proposal for the site before the city but it was in the early stages. "The new proposal includes residential rental units and a restaurant. Details beyond that are still being developed, and our input is very valuable at this stage to help shape the proposal," she said. Details beyond that are still being developed, and our input is very valuable at this stage to help shape the proposal." 

"In the coming days, I will post a date for an upcoming open-house style meeting for you to come learn more about this early proposal, meet the people making the proposal, ask questions you may have, and share your feedback and concerns and how you would like to see it develop."

More on this development from the Salem Patch


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1.15.19 Meeting Notice: Swampscott to Hold Public Forum on Proposed 40R Smart Growth Overlay District this Thurs 1/17

The Town of Swampscott will hold a Public Forum on the proposed Chapter 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District this Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:30 - 8:00 P.M. in the Cafeteria of the Swampscott Council on Aging (Senior Center) located at 200R Essex Street

Summary of Proposal

The Town of Swampscott's Planning Board & Board of Selectman have proposed a 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District in the area surrounding the historic Swampscott train station. The Overlay District would provide allowances, guidelines and regulations for new development and redevelopment, focused on revitalizing underutilized properties.

This proposal would promote mixed land use (commercial, residential, institutional and open space), create new, diversified and higher density housing opportunities (25% affordable required), encourage compact, transit-oriented development in walkable areas, and foster economic development, tax revenue, and additional financial incentives from the state.

The Overlay District must receive input from the community and a two-thirds vote at Swampscott’s Town Meeting in May.

Background on Chapter 40R Smart Growth Zoning

Chapter 40R provides for direct financial incentives to municipalities when they adopt zoning overlay districts intended to facilitate the production of housing and mixed-use development at specified “smart growth” locations. Chapter 40R seeks to substantially increase the supply of housing and decrease its cost, by increasing the amount of land zoned for dense housing. It targets the shortfall in housing for low- and moderate-income households, by requiring the inclusion of affordable units in most private projects.

More on 40R Smart Growth Zoning is available here and the Public Forum Notice from the Town of Swampscott is posted below and on the town's website

North Shore Association of REALTORS® Position

NSAR generally supports 40R Smart Growth Zoning. In accordance with NSAR’s Public Policy Statement, REALTORS® support efforts by North Shore cities and towns to address the underlying demand for housing stock by developing programs that foster community revitalization and economic growth in accordance with Smart Growth principles, including the creation of adequate workforce and affordable housing. REALTORS® support incentive based, market-driven and innovative land use planning techniques that use land more efficiently, while recognizing that property restrictions should always balance with the property rights

REALTOR® Call for Action

NSAR encourages you to attend Thursday’s Public Forum. If you plan to attend or have any questions, please let us know by replying to this email or contacting NSAR at 978-232-9410. 

WHAT: Town of Swampscott Public Forum on Proposed 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District
WHEN: Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:30 – 8:00 P.M. 
WHERE: Swampscott Council on Aging (Senior Center) Cafeteria, 200R Essex Street

Swampscott 40R Smart Growth Overlay


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1.14.19 Local News: Boston Officials Propose New Taxes on Some Real Estate Deals to Pay for More Housing

In the thick of an affordable housing crisis that has taken hold across Greater Boston, city councilors have proposed levying fees on high-end real estate deals to help pay for more housing -- part of a bold and controversial movement across the region to tax developers who have been profiting off of a historic building boom. 

The proposal would set a tax of up to 6 percent on many commercial and residential sales over $2 million and establish a "flipping" tax of up to 25 percent on some properties that are sold twice within two years. It's a bid to stem speculation and profiteering in Boston's red-hot real estate market, the councilors say, and could raise anywhere from $175 million to $350 million a year.  

More on these proposed taxes from The Boston Globe.


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1.11.19 National News: Federal Government Shutdown Making Some Buyers Nervous

For three weeks, a partial government shutdown has left thousands of federal workers without a paycheck. This week, President Donald Trump was quoted as saying in a meeting with top Democrats that the shutdown could stretch on for “months or even years” as he and Congress continue to stall on a spending bill and funding over a border wall.

And as each day the partial shutdown goes on, you could find it costing you more and more in sales. Roughly one-tenth of more than 2,000 respondents to a National Association of REALTORS® survey conducted Monday reported an impact on potential clients. Another one-tenth reported an impact on current clients. Among REALTORS® who reported a business impact since the shutdown began three weeks ago, 25 percent said that they had a buyer who decided to hold off on purchasing a home even though they were not government employees.

More on the government shutdown is available here including a video from NAR Economist NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun on how the partial shutdown of the federal government is hurting real estate markets.


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1.11.19 Meeting Notice: Salem to Hold Public Hearing on FY20 Action Plan for Community & Economic Development

The City of Salem's Department of Planning & Community Development will hold a Public Hearing on Thursday, January 17, 2019 in the first floor conference room at 98 Washington Street at 6:00 P.M. on the FY20 Action Plan for Community and Economic Development for the period of July 1, 2019 to June 30, 2020.

The Action Plan will outline Salem’s housing and community development needs and funding priorities for the expenditure of Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) and Home Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) funds, which are used to benefit low and moderate income persons.

The purpose of this hearing is to give citizens the opportunity to comment on the housing and community development needs of Salem’s low to moderate income residents and on the types of activities that should be undertaken to meet these needs. In the event of a meeting cancellation due to inclement weather, this meeting will be rescheduled to January 22, 2019 at 6:00 p.m.

More information is available on Additional coverage is also available on the Salem Patch.


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1.10.19 Housing Watch: Developers Down-Scaling - Meeting Sheds Light on Plans for Vacant Hospital in Peabody

Developers say they plan to significantly reduce the number of planned condos down from 135 units when they redevelop the former J.B. Thomas Hospital on King Street. 

Those living in the tight-knit Emerson Park neighborhood, which consists mainly of single and two-family homes, have been concerned about the vacant hospital being redeveloped into a large condo project, which would be restricted to age 55 and older.

More on this project from The Salem News.


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