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7.19.19 Governor Baker Announces 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards

On July 18th in Swampscott, the 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards where announced by Governor Baker.  The North Shore was very well represented with four local recipients. The awards in total consist of nearly $80 million in direct subsidies and $38 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund the development, renovation, and preservation of housing opportunities throughout Massachusetts. 

 

The four local winners are:  Cabot Street in Beverly, which will construct 24 new units as well as rehabilitating 45 existing units.  All of these units will be restricted to individuals earning less than 60% of the area median income.  Harbor Village in Gloucester will be a mixed-use project consisting of a commercial ground level and 30 new units which will be restricted to 60% of area median income.  The Tannery in Peabody is a preservation project.  When the rehab is completed there will be 200 units reserved for those earning less than 60% of area median income and 35 units for those earning less than 30% of area median income.  Finally, The Senior Residences at The Machon in Swampscott is a redevelopment project of an elementary school for senior citizens.  There will be 38 units available for seniors earning less than 60% of the area median income and 8 more units for seniors earning less than 30% of the area median income.

 

You can find the state house’s official press release here.

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7.17.19 Peabody’s 25% Affordable Housing Requirement Lowered to 20%

 

In April, it was voted by City Council to create a requirement of 25% affordable housing units for large developments.  At the same time the building height allowance was also raised to 5 floors.

After just 12 weeks those numbers have been voted to come back down.  First, the building height allowance was taken to 4 floors instead of 5.  Then on July 11th the Industrial & Community Development Committee, a sub-committee of the City Council, unanimously voted to lower the affordable housing percentage from 25% to 20%.

Curt Bellavance, the Community Development director, is quoted as saying: “We are looking for a compromise to get it to 20 percent” referring to the original 15% sought by the city and the 25% decision of the council.

The revised rule will go to the Planning Board and then to a public hearing from there.

Read the full coverage of before and after this decision in the Item here and here.

 

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7.17.19 Manchester-By-The-Sea to Update 1978 Zoning Bylaw

 

After over 40 years of slight changes and reorganization, Manchester-By-The-Sea has begun to take steps for a Zoning Recodification and Update.  This comes on the heels of the new Manchester Master Plan, which calls for more diversification of housing opportunities as well as opening up commercial areas for the possibility of residential housing.

This endeavor is scheduled to overlap multiple Planning Board meetings as topics being tackled range from cleanliness/readability issues to major procedural changes.  Once a rough draft is completed, the plans will head to a Community Workshop before finally arriving at a formal Planning Board Hearing where an approval of two-thirds will be needed for it to pass. 

Attention Manchester-By-The-Sea Realtors, the next meeting will be held today July, 17th at 5pm in the Town Hall Room 5.  This will be to discuss the general recodification and get an update from Mark Bobrowski, who is the consultant hired to assist in this process.

Read more on the town's website here.

 

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7.2.19 North Shore Transit-Oriented Development Discussions

 Multifamily projects built around North Shore commuter rail stations could help alleviate Greater Boston's affordable housing crunch, housing advocates told Congressman Seth Moulton on Monday.

Moulton, a Salem Democrat and advocate for public transportation and rail travel, met Monday with Harborlight Community Partners Executive Director Andrew DeFranza, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Executive Director Andre Leroux, and Tracy Corley, transit-oriented development fellow at MassINC, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, to talk about transit-oriented development.

"One of the key tie-ins to the work that we have been doing in this office is the connection between housing and transportation," Moulton said, "part of the solution to the housing crisis in downtown Boston isn't just building more housing in downtown Boston but improving the rail infrastructure so you can live easily in a place like Salem or Lynn and commute to work in downtown Boston."

 

Full Salem News Coverage here

Greater Boston 2019 Housing Report

 

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6.25.19 Salem Considers Accessory Dwelling Zoning Amendments

The City of Salem has been working to create policies that will facilitate more housing options in Salem.

Mayor Driscoll will be discussing a zoning change that could provide a surge of rental housing across the city during her State of the City address on Monday.

City planners recently drafted a new set of proposed rules governing "accessory dwelling units", otherwise known as in-law apartments, in all residentially zoned parts of the city. These rules would remove many restrictions on the apartments, essentially allowing them to be rented out like any other apartment.

The rules were submitted to the City Council on June 13, and they'll be discussed by Mayor Kim Driscoll during her speech Monday at the Workbar, 120 Washington St., at 7 p.m. Driscoll is also planning to address transportation issues, education and ways to combat the ongoing impacts caused by climate change.

In-law apartments are already allowed in single-family zones around Salem, but they come with some stiff restrictions. First, they can only be lived in by a family member of the property owner or a caregiver and they must be removed when the "tenant" leaves or the home is sold. They're also currently prohibited in all other residential zones.

Under the newly proposed rules, in-law apartments could be created without zoning board approval (by right, in other words) in any residential zone, if they met certain parameters. That includes a maximum of 800 square feet in size, doesn't cause a net loss of trees on the property and provides adequate parking on-site.

The Salem City Council Joint Public Hearing with the Planning Board relative to amending two Zoning Ordinances regarding Accessory Living Areas will be held on July 8, 2019

Salem News Coverage of the Salem's State of the City Address

 

Information on Public Hearing

 

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6.20.19 North Shore Massachusetts Transformative Transit-Oriented Development Regional Forum

A North Shore Massachusetts Transformative Transit-Oriented Development Regional Forum, at the Lynn Museum and hosted by the Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC) took place on June 19th.  The forum was held to explore how Lynn, Peabody, Salem, and other cities are using TOD to transform their cities and surrounding communities

In the MassINC report, “The Promise and Potential of Transformative Transit-Oriented Development in Gateway Cities,” the executive summary reads that gateway cities can accommodate thousands of new housing units and thousands of new jobs on the vacant and underutilized land surrounding their commuter rail stations. The walkable, mixed-use urban land offers an ideal setting for a transit-oriented development.

Lynn Daily Item coverage here.

 

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