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2.20.19 Housing Watch: Anchor Point Housing Development in Beverly Receives $250K in CPA Funding

A new affordable housing project being eyed for a 5-acre plot of vacant land at 108 Sohier Road will receive $250,000 in Community Preservation Act funding.

The development, called Anchor Point, is a project established by Harborlight Community Partners, a non-profit devoted to providing affordable housing on the North Shore.

“The project offers a lot of advantages and benefits, and fulfills a deep need in Beverly,” said Marilyn McCrory, chairman of Beverly’s community preservation committee (CPC).

The CPC voted unanimously to recommend funding for the project, and the Beverly City Council voted unanimously on Tuesday to green light that funding.

“I think we all agreed it was a very strong project in the housing category,” McCrory said. “All of the units that Harborlight is proposing to build will be affordable. It’s a large number of new units, which we haven’t seen a lot of coming before either the community preservation committee or the city.”

In addition to money from the CPC, the project will leverage a tremendous amount of funding from other sources, to the tune of $18 million.

“We asked for early approval of the funding so that Harborlight could meet a state funding grant application deadline,” McCrory explained.

The CPC allocation will help fund the first phase of the Anchor Point project, which will include 38 two- and three-bedroom affordable housing units. A second phase would build 37 apartments, for a total of 75.

More on this housing project is available at the Beverly Citizen

The City Council previously voted to create a special 40R Smart Growth Zoning Overlay District for the area, which makes the city eligible for state payments based on the number of units and new students that would move into the district.

The housing would be for families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income, which in 2018 was $64,680 for a family of four. Twenty percent of the units would be set aside for families coming out of homelessness.


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2.20.19 Meeting Notice: Hearing on Salem's Adaptive Reuse Zoning Overlay Set for Next Tuesday 2/26

Salem's City Council Committee on Ordinances, Licenses, and Legal Affairs (OLLA) will host a public hearing on the proposed Religious & Municipal Adaptive Reuse Zoning Overlay ordinance next Tuesday, February 26th at 6:00pm at Salem City Hall (93 Washington St) after the full City Council referred the ordinance to Committee for further public input and review last Thursday.

The official Committee hearing notice is available here.

According to The Salem News

The proposal would create a “Municipal and Religious Reuse Overlay District,” which establishes rules for developers to work under when developing certain properties in Salem that are owned by the city or religious institutions.

Developers would also have to meet certain expectations from the city, including setting aside a percentage of units as affordable.    

The impetus came from two properties owned by the Archdiocese: St. James Parish, at 150 Federal St., and Immaculate Conception, at 17 Hawthorne Blvd.

Former school buildings on these properties have been frequently suggested as possible housing sites by city officials, but without a zoning change, multifamily housing would not be allowed in these districts.

The proposal, however, has broader implications across the city. "Eligibility criteria" for properties that would be covered by the overlay includes a list of 27 sites. Salem's historic City Hall — the second-oldest active town or city hall in the country — and the public library are both on that list, as well as well as several schools, churches, and even the Fire Department headquarters on Lafayette Street.

If referred out of Committee on Tuesday night, the full City Council will take up the proposed zoning overlay again at their regularly scheduled City Council Meeting on Thursday, February 28th at 7:00pm at Salem City Hall. 

Read more about NSAR's support for this ordinance and The Salem News' take on the importance of passing this ordinance for housing in Salem.


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2.20.19 Housing Watch: Housing Plan for Howley Street Factory in Peabody Withdrawn

The owners of a former chemical factory at the corner of Howley and Walnut streets have withdrawn a request to rezone the property so it could be converted into apartments.

Peabody attorney John Keilty asked the City Council last week to withdraw the request to rezone 26 Howley Street from General Business District, which does not allow residential uses, to Business Central, which does. The council voted in favor of the request to withdraw.

The owner of the property is 26 Howley Street Trust of Salem, trustee Patricia Flomp.

At a hearing earlier this month before a City Council subcommittee, Keilty said the building lacks commercial tenants, so the owners wanted to add two stories to the top, for a total of five stories, and convert it to apartments.

But councilors raised a number of concerns about the plan, making it uncertain that a zoning change would win approval.

One concern was that the building might be a "sick building." Keilty said, however, that it had passed air-quality tests on a number of occasions. The building was tested as required by state law, he said, when the Flomps acquired the building in 1997 and had the old tanks removed.

Ward 3 Councilor James Moutsoulas argued that the area would be better off zoned for business and not housing. And Ward 2 Councilor Peter McGinn said the building sits in a flood plain, and flooding would only get worse with climate change.

McGinn's motion — for a negative recommendation on the zoning change to the full council — passed unanimously. The Planning Board had endorsed the zoning change at an earlier hearing.

More on this from The Salem News.


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2.19.19 Meeting Notice: Beverly City Council to Consider $250K in CPA Funds for Anchor Point Housing Development Tonight

The Beverly City Council will host a public hearing as they consider a $250,000 appropriation of CPA funds to help pay for the first phase of an affordable housing development on Sohier Road during their scheduled City Council Meeting tonight, Tuesday, February 19th at 7:30 P.M. at Beverly City Hall

The meeting notice is available here.

The complex, to be called Anchor Point, calls for the initial construction of 38 two- and three-bedroom family apartments in a building at the corner of Sohier and Tozer roads. A second phase would build 37 apartments, for a total of 75.

The City Council previously voted to create a special zoning district for the area, which makes the city eligible for state payments based on the number of units and new students that would move into the district.

The housing would be for families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income, which in 2018 was $64,680 for a family of four. Twenty percent of the units would be set aside for families coming out of homelessness.

More on this proposal is available at NSAR's Government Affairs Blog.


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2.18.19 Housing Watch: Possible Senior Housing & Senior Center Discussed for Former Cricket Press Building in Manchester

During the January 7th meeting of the Board of Selectman in Manchester-by-the-Sea, a proposal was discussed to convert a portion of the former Cricket Press Building located at 50 Summer Street into age 55+ apartments and make use of the building as a potential site for a new Senior Center: 

"The possible conversion of a portion of the Cricket Building continues to advance. Owner Sam Byrne is willing to agree to a ten-year use, and longer term would like to see a senior center at the site when he hopes to redevelop the site as a 55+ apartment complex. The Town should hear back from Byrne next week about how generous he wants to be underwriting the efforts. It could be that he would front the capital dollars needed to do the renovations and recoup all or part of this expense through monthly lease payments. The Town should know soon if this option is a go. If it is not, we will restart the effort to examine other possible sites."

The 20,620 square foot building, sitting on 2.43 acres, sold for $2.85M in November 2018.

Read the Minutes of the Manchester Board of Selectman Meeting here (Page 4).


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2.14.19 Editorial: The Salem News Calls for Passage of Salem Adaptive Reuse Zoning Ordinance

Ahead of tonight's Salem City Council meeting in which the City will consider an Adaptive Resuse Zoning Ordinance that will provide a permitting pathway for the resue and redevelopment of underutilized municipal and religious properties, The Salem News published an editorial this morning calling for passage of the ordinance: 

"The overlay would allow former church properties, such as St. James School, or municipal buildings, such as the former senior center on Broad Street, to be redeveloped for housing, with a special permit from the Planning Board. It is a reasonable change to current uses, and requires written input from both the Historical Commission and the Design Review Board before any housing proposal can be approved. It includes parking requirements and regulation of any new construction proposed for such sites. In all, 27 municipal and church buildings are included as eligible properties, although most of them are not vacant or likely to be redeveloped.

Housing, and particularly affordable housing, is a critical need in both the city and the region, and a zoning plan that allows for now-useless buildings to help meet that need is a plus for the city. We hope city councilors will agree and vote to approve the zoning overlay on Thursday."

Tonight's City Council meeting will take place at 7:00pm at Salem City Hall, 93 Washington Street.

Read the full Salem News Editoral here.

Click here to read NSAR's letter of support for this ordinance



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