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8.31.07 Developer to Appeal Beverly Subdivision Decision

According the Beverly Citizen, a developer who had sought permission to build a four-lot subdivision at 30 Foster Street in Beverly has appealed the decision by suing the Planning Board in Superior Court.

The Planning board purported denied the project following a site visit when they determined that there was an issue with the site plans. The board also denied the project because they felt it would add four to five times the amount of existing traffic at the intersection of Foster Street and the proposed new road.

The developer, Robert Hubbard, is arguing that the board’s denial was done improperly, that his plan conforms to the requirements of City zoning laws, and that there no was no evidence ever submitted to the Planning board to prove that the amount of traffic would increase that amount.

As of August 16, 2007, no hearing had been scheduled, but the Superior Court clerk is set to check on the case on November 19, 2007.

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8.31.07 Haverhill to Begin Largest Development Project in History

The Eagle-Tribune has reported that financing for the Forest City apartments, have been approved.

Forest City Enterprises, based in Ohio, recently finalized funding to build a new $70 million, 306-unit apartment complex in Downtown Haverhill.

Construction could start as soon as October 2007, Mayor James Fiorentini said.

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8.31.07 Beverly Waterfront Plans

According to the Beverly Citizen, the City of Beverly may soon begin plans to re-write land-use laws to allow new types of development along two downtown waterfronts, Water Street and the Bass River waterfront along River Street and McPherson Drive.

The City is hoping to bring in millions of dollars in new tax revenues. A Special Committee which met in May 2007 is looking to interview prospective consultants and choose a Master Plan perhaps by end of September.

This is more than a year after City Counsilers decided to spend $75,000 on waterfront development planning.

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8.23.07 Haverhill enacts Chapter 40R "Smart Growth" Zoning Overlay District

In February 2007, Haverhill received Commonwealth final approval to transform its old shoe shop industrial area of downtown into a Chapter 40R zoning overlay district. According to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, M.G.L. Chapter 40R, commonly known as “Smart Growth” encourages communities to create dense residential or mixed-use smart growth zoning districts, including a high percentage of affordable housing units, to be located near transit stations, in areas of concentrated development such as existing city and town centers, and in other highly suitable locations.

The specific area to be developed as Smart Growth are Wingate Street, lower Washington Street, Locke Street and Locust Street.

You can view the City of Haverhill’s Ordinance, here and here.

The rezoning makes it easier for developers to obtain permits to convert old buildings into new housing and new businesses, either as-of-right or through a limited plan review process akin to site plan review.
Upon state review and approval of a local overlay district, communities become eligible for payments from a Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund, as well as other financial incentives.

Haverhill’s passage of Chapter 40R earned it a mention in the Boston Business Journal.
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.

In a Chapter 40R zoning overlay district, investors can build mixed use projects − housing on the upper floors and retail on the first floor − provided they meet historic design standards.

Approval of Smart Group in Haverhill puts the city in line for a $600,000 one time bonus, and a bonus of $3,000 for each unit that is built in the area.

In order to alleviate the potential financial burden on cities and towns approving Smart Rezoning, the state legislature enacted Chapter 40S, which provides additional state funding, to cover the costs of educating any school-age children who move into such districts. This legislation was in response to the common concern that new housing was costly in terms of municipal finances, given the imbalance of tax revenues and service costs. Qualifying communities will be reimbursed for the net cost of educating students living in new housing in smart growth districts.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors® Quality of Life Program produced an excellent pamphlet that Summarized Smart Growth and Zoning in Massachusetts. You can go to their website and/or request additional pamphlets for your offices and clients at

You can also read more about Smart Growth on the National Association of Realtor®’s website at

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