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4.9.19 Saugus Approves 2 Year Construction Moratorium on Multi-Family Dwellings

Saugus Town Meeting members unanimously approved a two-year moratorium on the construction of multi-family dwellings of three or more units.


The vote by Town Meeting members at Monday’s special Town Meeting amends the zoning bylaws to prohibit the issuance of building permits for multi-family dwellings of three or more units in any zoning district in town for two years.

Read more from WIckedLocal Saugus here.


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4.9.19 Next Salem Housing Forum is April 23rd

Over 200 people attended the Salem Housing Forum on March 5th. As a follow up to that discussion, on April 23rd a Salem Housing Workshop on Inclusionary Housing and Accessory Dwelling Units will be held.  The forum will focus on discussion of the city's housing challenges + review these two potential tools to help meet housing needs.

Many young adults, working families and seniors are struggling to find adequate, affordable housing in Salem. This has an impacts the entire city and threatens the character and livability of our community. Many municipalities have local laws requiring a percentage of new affordable units as part of any new development (inclusionary housing). In addition, cities/towns are increasingly looking to utilize existing housing stock to enable in-law units to help address their housing needs (accessory dwelling units).

 These options and a look forward to continuing an important dialogue on housing needs and tools that can put in place to help address this in Salem takes place on April 23rd at the Community Life Center, 401 Bridge Street.  6pm-8pm





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4.5.19 Housing Choice Legislation to Address Housing Shortage

Massachusetts has been experienceing a robust economy combined with a lag in housing starts over the past 20 years which has created a tight housing market and increasing home prices.  NSAR supports the proposed Housing Choice legislation to help spur new housing by making it easier to permit certain projects.

"What Housing Choice does is lower the threshold of local approval for housing production from a two-thirds vote ... to move that down from two-thirds to a simple majority for about nine different types of housing developments," says state Housing and Economic Development Secretary Mike Kennealy.

Many housing projects that have garnered a majority vote often fail to win supermajority when it comes to winning approval, he said.

The bill would lower the approval threshold for transit-oriented developments, in which at least 10 percent of apartments are affordable

Read the full Gloucester Daily Times coverage about North Shore Community efforts here.

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3.26.19 First Phase of Lynnway Site Redevelopment Underway

Work began this week on the construction of a $1.4 million seawall, the first phase of the redevelopment of the former Beacon Chevrolet site into 332 waterfront market-rate apartments.

City officials are anticipating a groundbreaking of the $90 million development in the spring, which would transform a 14-acre site, dubbed North Harbor, that has sat vacant for three decades.

Construction of the new 48,000-square-footseawall is expected to be completed in late spring or early summer.

Read more about the first phase in the Lynn Item.


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3.20.19 Local News: Lynn Unveils Third Waterfront Plan

The City of Lynn is developing two master plans to reimagine its waterfront with residential, commercial and industrial development, park space and public access. A third plan that will help implement and enforce the provisions of both was laid out for the first time on Tuesday night.

The third component of the planning process for the transformation of the city’s 305-acre waterfront site is an update of the Lynn Municipal Harbor Plan, which was approved by the state in 2010 and expires after a decade.

The plan, subject to state approval, was presented before a roomful of residents and elected officials at Lynn Housing Authority & Neighborhood Development.

A Municipal Harbor Plan states a municipality’s goals, standards and policies to guide public and private use of land and water within the jurisdiction of the Public Waterfront Act, or Chapter 91, which was created to regulate waterways.

The MHP amendment is meant to help coordinate local, state and federal regulations along the waterfront and ensure the implementation of the updated Lynn Waterfront Master Plan and the Lynn Waterfront Open Space Master Plan.

In addition to its pending expiration, an update of the Lynn Municipal Harbor Plan was necessary because the “ambitious plan” had some assumptions in it that hadn’t panned out, according to Matthew Littell, principal at Utile Inc., a Boston-based urban design and architecture firm which was selected to compile the Waterfront Master Plan by the Economic Development & Industrial Corporation of Lynn.

Read more about the Waterfront Plan at The Lynn Item.


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3.20.19 State News: Tax on High-End Real Estate Sales Could Generate Hundreds of Millions for Boston; Dampen Real Estate Market

A tax on sales of high-dollar real estate in Boston would generate an enormous amount of money for affordable housing, but could dampen the city’s real estate market and faces a long road to approval.

That’s what emerged from a Boston City Council hearing Tuesday on a proposal that would levy a 6 percent tax on most homes, land, and office buildings that sell for more than $2 million, with the proceeds going to the city’s affordable housing fund.

A tax of that size would have generated $420 million last year, according to data from City Councilor Lydia Edwards, one of the bill’s cosponsors. Even a tax on commercial and industrial properties alone would have generated $189 million, nearly quadrupling the city’s current affordable housing budget of roughly $50 million.

“I would think those are numbers and money we certainly could use in the City of Boston,’ Edwards said.

Walsh administration officials — who have pushed for more affordable housing funding but taken no position on the transfer tax — didn’t disagree. Housing chief Sheila Dillon said Mayor Martin J. Walsh is “committed to the goals” of the legislation, but that it needs more study. Commissioner of Assessing Gayle Willett said she worried a transfer tax, and a related extra tax on sales of homes owned for less than two years, could hurt property values and make Boston’s housing market even tighter.

“I think that this would affect sales,” Willett said. “It would be in someone’s interest to get around these fees.”

Real estate industry leaders were more explicit: They don’t like the idea one bit. Greg Vasil, president of the Greater Boston Real Estate Board, said his members, who include major affordable housing developers, unanimously oppose the current plan. Should it pass, he said, the tax would simply be passed on to the people its supporters are trying to help: low-income renters and small businesses.

“Taxes like this trickle down an economy. They end up coming to rest with those who can least afford them,” Vasil said. “Companies will pay more in rent; people will pay more in terms of rent.”

Read more about this proposal at The Boston Globe.

Boston Skyline

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