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5.8.19 Lynn Waterfront Open Space Master Plan Final Meeting Set for June 4

The City of Lynn is hosting the final presentation of the Lynn Waterfront Open Space Master Plan on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 6:00pm at the Lynn Museum at 590 Washington St in Lynn. The plan covers a wide range of attractions slated for the waterfront redevelopment including parks, a promenade, a fishing pier and markets. This meeting will present the results of the public input throughout the Master Plan process. For more information on the Lynn Waterfront Open Space Master Plan, visit the Economic Development and Industrial Corporation of Lynn website.


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5.7.19 PlanBeverly Listening & Visioning Public Workshop Set for May 14

The City of Beverly is hosting a workshop on Tuesday, May 14 from 7:00pm-8:30pm at the Beverly Senior Center for the launch of PlanBeverly, a one year initiative that will craft a framework to guide the preservation and development of the city through community engagement. The workshop, held at 90 Colon Street in Beverly, will include several opportunities for community feedback on the early stages of the plan. Read more on NSAR’s Government Affairs Blog and check out the event website.

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5.7.19 Upcoming North Shore Town Meetings in May 2019

Town Meetings are happening this month in two towns on the North Shore. Residents of Topsfield and Danvers should be aware of these important events allowing citizens to contribute their voices to town governance.

Topsfield's 2019 Annual Town Meeting will be tonight, Tuesday, May 7, 2019 at 7:00pm at the Proctor School. The warrant can be found here.

Danvers’ 2019 Annual Town Meeting will be held on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 7:30pm at the Danvers High School Auditorium. The warrant can be found here.

The town meetings primarily concern fiscal year 2020 budget and allocations for local development projects.

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5.2.19 City of Beverly begins yearlong Master Plan process

Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill has announced the launch of the city's comprehensive master plan process and the launch of the project website,

PlanBeverly is a one-year initiative that will engage the community in creating a framework to guide the responsible growth and preservation of the city. The comprehensive master plan will situate Beverly in the context of the region and help Beverly residents articulate a shared vision for the coming decades.

The plan will include Land Use, Economic Development, Housing, Mobility, Cultural & Historical, Resources, Natural Resources, Open Space & Recreation, Services & Facilities. In addition to these topics, PlanBeverly will incorporate sustainability as an overriding theme, woven throughout the plan and used as a lens through which the plan is implemented and evaluated.

The citywide plan will combine existing city plans under a comprehensive framework while offering additional ideas for the future of the city. The final result will be a unified road map that brings all of the components together.

As local, regional, and state trends show both a need and a demand for continued community investments and growth, this plan will build on the successes of the 2002 Master Plan and chart a course for Beverly’s future.

The education and listening phase of the plan will occur in spring 2019, followed by the community visioning phase in summer 2019. The plan will be developed in fall 2019, with a draft of the citywide plan being delivered in January 2020. The citywide plan will be finalized in March 2020.

Source: PlanBeverly official website.

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4.30.19 FEMA Unveils ‘Risk Rating 2.0’

FEMA announced changes to the way the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) will charge homeowners for flood risks. The change—dubbed “Risk Rating 2.0”—could have a significant impact on flood insurance bills for millions of homeowners.

Risk Rating 2.0 aims to  improve the policyholder experience by leveraging industry best practices and current technology to deliver rates that are transparent and better reflect a property’s unique flood risk.

The new risk rating system will fundamentally change the way FEMA rates a property’s flood risk and prices insurance. With Risk Rating 2.0, FEMA is pairing state-of-the-art industry technology with the NFIP’s mapping data to establish a more comprehensive understanding of risk at both the community and individual level.

Risk Rating 2.0 will help customers better understand their flood risk and provide them with more accurate rates based on their unique risk. This will include determining a customer’s flood risk by incorporating multiple, logical rating characteristics–like different types of flood, the distance a building is from the coast or another flooding source, or the cost to rebuild a home. The new rating plan will also aim to ensure customers will no longer face dramatic rate increases during map changes or at the edge of flood zones. Risk Rating 2.0 will comply with existing statutory caps on premium increases to help transition policyholders who may face otherwise substantial rate increases.

Read more from FEMA about Risk Rating 2.0 on the official announcement.

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4.30.19 Rent control gets a second look in Cambridge

A growing debate over rent control in Massachusetts has people in Cambridge harkening back to an era when apartment-living in this city was quite different: the 1990s.

Specifically, they’re revisiting 1994, the year Massachusetts voters narrowly outlawed restrictions on what landlords could charge tenants. Today, amid a housing crunch that grips much of Greater Boston, some lawmakers are saying it may be time to reconsider that decision.

While Boston and Brookline also had rent control programs in 1994, Cambridge’s was by far the most stringent. Nearly 40 percent of the city’s housing stock was under a rental cap, and a powerful board held sway over what landlords could demand for an apartment. In the quarter-century since the law was abolished, the Cambridge housing market has soared, powered in part by the emergence of Kendall Square as one of the world’s top biotechnology hubs.

There are at least two bills on Beacon Hill — one filed, the other expected to be filed soon — that would effectively undo that 1994 initiative and allow cities and towns to again impose rent control.

The prognosis for the legislation is unclear. Governor Charlie Baker has signaled his opposition to rent control, but supporters say it and other tenant protections should be part of the conversation in any broader housing legislation, including measures Baker wants that would ease zoning changes.

Should they succeed, the debate would be thrown back to cities and towns, many of which — like Cambridge — have changed dramatically since rent control ended.

Tim Toomey, the only current Cambridge City Council member who was on the board in 1994, lives just north of Kendall Square, in what was once a working-class neighborhood that has increasingly become home to biotech and tech workers who earn enough to pay $2,500 a month for a one-bedroom apartment.

Read more about the rent control debate in the Boston Globe.

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