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12.12.07 Pictures Don’t Tell the Whole Story in Danvers

According to the Danvers Herald, a four-page full color mailing and neighborhood meetings did not smooth the path for the developer of Lebel’s Grove at the November 27th zoning change public hearing. The 291-unit senior housing complex drew an opposition crowd of about 50 to the Danvers Senior Center, where both citizens and Planning Board members questioned the impact of the Route 114 development and the related zoning amendment proposed by Attorney Nancy McCann. That amendment would create a new zone, Residential IIIB, allowing 6 multi-family units per acre. Comments centered on traffic, water shortages, density and possible impact on school population. The meeting, which was being taped for absent-due-to-illness Planning Board Member Ron Baser, adjourned without conclusion when the video tape ran out. The hearing will resume as part of the regular Planning Board agenda on Tuesday, December 11th.

Read the entire Danvers Herald article

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12.11.07 Hamilton/Wenham Meeting to Discuss Transfer Taxes

The Government Affairs Committee just learned that there will be a meeting tonight, Tuesday, December 11th at 7:30 p.m, at the Buker Multipurpose Room, where Hamilton and Wenham Boards of Selectmen and representatives from the Finance Committees for each town will meet with community members to discuss, amongst other items, a new potential real estate transfer tax. Realtors® oppose real estate transfer taxes as bad tax policy for the following reasons:

  1. A community wide responsibility should be paid for by the entire community. Property taxes are inequitable and discriminatory as it would single out a small segment of the population, specifically home buyers and sellers, to pay for a community wide need.
  2. Transfer taxes are exclusionary because it would increase the cost of home ownership and in effect create an additional barrier to entry for an already expensive part of the state. Further, the real estate market is highly sensitive to economic downtowns; therefore this tax would provide an unstable source of revenue.
  3. The tax would subvert the voter approval process inherent in a Proposition 2½ override, in which voters can decide for themselves whether to increase their own property taxes.
  4. The Legislature has already given all cities and towns many equitable tools to create affordable and workforce housing through passage of the Community Preservation Act, Chapter 40R, Chapter 40S and Chapter 40B. These tools are available for all communities to use.
You can find other Realtor® talking points from the Massachusetts Association of Realtors® website by clicking here. NSAR highly encourages all Realtors® who live or work in Hamilton and Wenham to attend this meeting and voice your opposition to real estate transfer taxes.

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12.10.07 Beverly Housing Coalition Staff Added for New Projects

According to the Beverly Citizen, the Beverly Affordable Housing Coalition has added a new program manager to help the organization take on its two largest projects yet — a new building of 43, single-room-occupancy units at the Mayflower Motel property on Cabot Street and several new below-market-rate apartments buildings in the Gloucester Crossing neighborhood.

The new staff, David Bresnahan, was working in New Orleans as director of special projects for a homeless housing collaborative that involved over 60 different agencies at the time Hurricane Katrina struck. Bresnahan’s addition doubled the size of the Beverly Affordable Housing Coalition; he is a graduate of the London School of Economic and Political Science with a degree in social policy and administration.

Read the entire Beverly Citizen article

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12.10.07 Plans to Rebuild Danversport Marina Put on Hold

The Danvers Herald reported that a recent Liberty Marine plan to build a 41-foot building to replace two destroyed in the Danversport explosion last year, was put on hold due to demands for multiple fire lanes imposed by neighbors and the town.

The marina sits on one of the prettiest pieces of waterfront property, along the Waters River, which is deep and doesn’t suffer the silting and dredging problems of the other three rivers in town — the Danvers, Porter and Crane rivers.

The owner of the marina, Jim Cheever, testified at the September 10th Zoning Board of Appeals hearing that for the past 15 years, he and his wife have been good neighbors, serving 250 or more boaters each year in a safe manner and that there is and has been a 30-foot buffer zone between the marina and the Bates Street back yards.

The couple won ZBA approval for the new building to replace a former 39-foot 6-inch storage/office building destroyed in the explosion. The new building would have 12,600 square feet, slightly less than the former building. Its higher peak allowed for a fire sprinkler system, which the former building did not have. There were no plans to replace the second building immediately.

Read the entire Danvers Herald article

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12.10.07 Ipswich Sign Bylaws Examined

The Ipswich Chronicle reports that members of an Ipswich ad-hoc Sign Bylaw Revision Committee met with Director of Planning, Glenn Gibbs, to to discuss concerns regarding regulations applying to signs on private property that are placed for public viewing. One purpose of the existing bylaw is to limit the clutter of uncontrolled signage.

"Much of it is in the business community, but not entirely," Gibbs said, explaining which areas of town would be addressed. The most common concern is that regulations are not as flexible as they could be, are too restrictive and are not as easy to understand as they could be, he said. Alternatively, Gibbs said, he has also heard concern that the regulations are not restrictive enough "I do think the bylaw is a little confusing as it's set up here," he said, and added there are a number of improvements that could be made.

Read the entire Ipswich Chronicle article

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12.10.07 Middleton Officials Deciding on Developing Land

According to the Tri-Town Transcript, Middleton Selectman are looking into to developing recently acquired land near the intersection of East Street and Peabody Street, which used to be home to the Rubchinuk landfill. The land is currently being used as a soccer field. Once environmental permitting is complete, Middleton will receive a sum of money from the state for management of the site, part of which may be used to develop another soccer field as well as a baseball field on sections of the 32-acre land. The capped area of the landfill will not be developed on, according to Town Administrator Ira Singer.

Read the entire Tri-Town Transcript article

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