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6.19.20 Projects Working within Remote

Some local projects are getting approvals as remote Zoom meetings become more familiar, but others might have to wait until in-person meetings can resume.

In Swampscott, site plan approval for a 55+ independent living facility may have to wait for in-person meetings to return.  This project has had vocal opposition from neighboring residents since the original proposal seven years ago.  The petition, which was continued to the June 24th meeting, has already been continued again to the July 28th meeting.  The issue could be continued until an in-person meeting can be safely held.

On the other hand, in Peabody a 38-unit condo development was approved by the City Council with a 9-2 vote.  This approval was debated for more than 2 hours between those that saw this as an opportunity for revitalization and those that saw further density in a congested area.

Housing across the spectrum, from market rate units to affordable housing to senior living, is in critical need on the North Shore. Communities are working to balance that need with the need for a thorough review of the proposals.

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6.12.20 Housing Lynn Development Panel Discussion 6/17

Next Wednesday, June 17, Housing Lynn will host a virtual panel discussion on the future of residential development in the city.

Shaping new development is an important strategy to pursue Lynn’s housing goals. Panelists will discuss the Lynn housing market; the relationships between Affordable Housing, mixed-income development, and market-rate development; and how different housing types and building densities can provide community benefits. There will be a live audience Q&A with the panelists. This conversation will help Housing Lynn create realistic zoning and development recommendations.

The panel will feature experts in residential development for people with a range of incomes in Greater Boston:

The discussion will be conducted in English with live Spanish interpretation; those calling in rather than joining online will unfortunately not have access to interpretation. A video recording of the panel discussion will be posted online afterward for those who can't make it. Learn more below!

Online Panel Discussion Details

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6.4.20 CPA Funds to Assist Residents with Rental Payments

Beverly is the most recent local community to propose utilizing Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds to offer rental assistance to residents.  CPA funds come from a 1% surcharge on property taxes that can be adopted by a municipality to protect open space, create affordable housing, and more.

Beverly’s program, which would cover up to 60% of rent for 3 months (not to exceed $3,600), is currently before the City Council for approval.  Public hearing for the proposal will be heard on June 15th.

Individuals would be eligible for the program if they lost income due to COVID-19 and their household income is less than the Area Median Income (which differs based on household size).  Those with a mortgage on a deed-restricted low-income property would also be able to utilize the assistance.

You can read more about Beverly’s previous use of CPA funds and the rental assistance program here.

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5.31.20 Town Halls Begin to Reopen

As the North Shore begins the process of reopening so do local Town Halls.

Lynnfield has already opened their Town Hall by appointment only.  Go here to read the full procedure for visiting.

Danvers has planned a multi-stage opening where members of the public will be able to enter the Town Hall on June 22nd

Dates of future openings are all subject to change. If you have reason to visit a local town hall, make sure to confirm availability and the visitor procedure.

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5.29.20 Salem Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Vote Tabled

Last night, the Salem by-right ADU Ordinance was before the City Council for a vote of first passage.   The ordinance recieved a considerable amount of public comment from Salem residents on both sides of the issue.  The ordinance also featured a substainal change from the language previously presented during the Public Hearing and what was reviewed by the Planning Board.

Only hours before the meeting the ordinance received an edit to add a mandatory cap on the amount of rent a property owner could charge for an ADU unit. This cap would be set at 75% of the HUD Fair Market Rent (used in calculations for voucher programs).  In exchange, the property owner would get a partial property tax exemption.  The property tax exemption had previously been offered only if the property owner opted to have the ADU be an Affordable Housing unit.  You can read the new language here.

Ultimately, the ordinance was tabled, moving the vote for first passage to the next City Council meeting.

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5.26.20 Housing Lynn Online Open House

Housing Lynn just launched a new Online Open House to receive public comment relevant to the development of the new Lynn Housing Production Plan (HPP).

The Online Open House is a survey you can complete here.  You will have the opportunity to comment on a summary of housing challenges in Lynn, rate the importance of draft goals, prioritize potential strategies, and add additional thoughts.

Using information collected from the survey draft recommendations on policies and programs will be created to achieve plan goals.  From there, a public online webinar on housing development will be held in June and complete recommendations will be available for public feedback in the fall.

If you are a resistant of Lynn or work in that market, NSAR encourages you to take a moment to participate in the Online Open House.

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