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7.20.20 Peabody Development Sees Appeal from Neighborhood

An appeal has been filed in Land Court against the special permit granted by Peabody City Council’s 9-2 to the 38-unit condo development at 40-42 Endicott St by neighbors of the project.

The appeal states that the special permit "was arbitrary, capricious, legally untenable, exceeded the City Council's authority, was obtained in violation of the City Council's own procedures and rules for special permits, and was had via a hearing that was not noticed or published."

The development would replace two vacant commercial buildings but the lot is zoned for only single and two-family homes, hence the need for a special permit. The appeal asks a judge to either reverse the approval (through annulment or denial) or send back it back to the city council with a directive that it should be denied.

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7.17.20 Salem's New Green Building Ordinance

A new, environmentally focused ordinance was introduced at the last Salem City Council meeting. The Salem Green Building Ordinance would introduce new requirements for commercial and residential new construction and renovation of buildings greater than 5,000 square feet as well as requirements for any roof undergoing major construction and any sale of residential property.

The ordinance states that:

  • All new commercial or residential construction greater than 5,000 square feet must be certified LEED Silver or higher or be subject to a penalty. All commercial and multi-family buildings greater than 20,000 square feet LEED Gold Rating or higher.
  • Current structures with new additions that go to 5,000 square feet or city-owned/city-financed buildings would be subject to the same requirements as new construction.
  • Any residential property that is sold within Salem must provide the City Building Department and any potential buyers a Mass Save Energy Assessment of the property (done within two years prior to sale) and information regarding the last two years of yearly/monthly energy costs and use.
  • Any roof undergoing major construction must be covered in either solar photovoltaic (PV) panels or a green roof system (covered in vegetation). Construction projects affected include new construction, vertical and horizontal extensions, and major modifications to the roof requiring a permit. A solar assessment shall be submitted to the Sustainability, Energy and Resiliency Committee (SERC) prior to the issuance of a Building Permit.

The ordinance has been sent to the Public Health, Safety & Environment City Council Subcommittee for review. There is expected to be Public Hearings on the ordinance likely this fall.

You can read more about the ordinance here.

 

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7.16.20 Salem Resident Nominated to Housing Court

A local Salem resident, Alexander Mitchell-Munevar, has been nominated by Governor Baker as a judge on the Massachusetts Housing Court.

The Housing Court handles cases such as landlord-tenant issues, health and building code violations, and discrimination complaints. There are currently 2 open positions no the 15 member court.

Alexander Mitchell-Munevar began working on housing issues in 2008 at Greater Boston Legal Services and has since worked representing low-income tenants. He also helped found the Latino Leadership Coalition and serves on the Salem Board of Registrars of Voters.

The Governor’s Council will vote on whether to confirm the nomination.

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7.13.20 Northern Strand Zoning Overlay Survey

A new survey has been posted to get input from Lynn residents and community stakeholders concerning a Northern Strand Zoning Overlay.

Massachusetts recently announced plans to complete the Northern Strand ending in Lynn. This will connect an 11.5-mile route from the Mystic River to the Lynn shoreline. 

The survey not only seeks feedback on the types of business, recreation, and housing that you would like to find along the route but also educates survey takers on the importance of zoning, what zoning can accomplish, and why the overlay is being created. Partnering on the project are Lynn EDIC, MAPC, the City of Lynn, and the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs.

An overlay district could create mixed use zoning, green spaces, small businesses, and more that would benefit from and enhance the area along the route.

You can find the survey here.

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7.10.20 Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance in Salem Falls Short

Yesterday, the Salem City Council voted on the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance which failed to meet the required supermajority for first passage.  Failure to meet the required supermajority means the Inclusionary Zoning cannot be reheard until 2021.

The ordinance had gone through several changes in an attempt to come to a compromise on the measure. Those changes included an increase to 12% of units be made Affordable instead of 10%, not allowing payments to the Affordable Housing Trust for fractional units (for example in a 10 unit project that would require 1.2 Affordable Units), and a willingness for further conversation on the 25% density bonus given to developers before second passage.

An amendment was made and seconded to remove the 25% density bonus but the amendment did not pass.

The final vote was 7 in favor and 4 opposed.  8 votes in favor are needed to pass a zoning ordinance of this nature.

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7.1.20 Briscoe School Project Gets City Council Approval

The Briscoe School project has been approved by the Beverly City Council. The project is a collaboration of Harborlight Community Partners and Beacon Communities named Briscoe Village for Living & the Arts.

 

When the redevelopment is complete it will contain 91 units.  85 of the units will be age-restricted at 55 and over and income restricted at 30% and 60% Area Median Income. The other 6 units will be artist studios. The auditorium will be converted into a public theater with approximately 500 seats.

Start time on the project will depend on financing.  Funds will come from a few different sources including historic rehabilitation tax credits, state & federal low-income housing funds, and local funds.

You can read more about the project here.

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