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2.28.20 Manchester Talks ADUs

At this week's Manchester Planning Board meeting a group of Manchester volunteer residents presented on by-right Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs).

The group’s goal of introducing by-right ADUs is to expand entry level and downsizing housing options in the community.   The proposal would limit units to 2 bedrooms and 1,200 square feet, require a dedicated off-street parking spot, and could not be rented for less than 31 days.

Manchester does currently allow for the construction of some ADUs.  Under the current zoning bylaws, a special permit can be granted if the lot size is two times the minimum lot size, the dwelling was built prior to 1984, and at least 4 parking spots are provided.  Allowing by-right ADUs avoids the need for a special permit and would instead only require a building permit.

More meetings and public forums will be held throughout 2020 in anticipation of the proposal being on the fall Town Meeting warrant.

You can read more about the presentation and the efforts to bring by-right ADUs to Manchester here.

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2.28.20 Salem City Council Considers Inclusionary Zoning

Last night, the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance drafted by the Salem’s Affordable Housing Trust was on the agenda for the Salem City Council. 

Salem does not currently have an Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.  The ordinance would require 10% of units in developments of 6 or more total units to be Affordable Housing.  See more of the details of the proposed ordinance here.

The Salem City Council referred the ordinance to a joint public hearing with the Planning Board.  The public hearing date has not yet been scheduled.

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2.27.20 Georgetown Reviews Inclusionary Bylaw Amendment

Last night the Georgetown Planning Board held a Public Hearing to review a proposed amendment to the Inclusionary Housing Balance Bylaw.  The amendment, as it stands now, would make several changes to the current bylaw including lowering the threshold to any residential development and creating a new calculation for the fee-in-lieu payment.

Georgetown’s current Inclusionary Housing Bylaw only affects developments of 3 units or greater.  A lowering of that threshold to 'any residential development' would mean that the construction of any single-family home on a single lot would require an in-lieu payment. This payment would be 12% of the average market sale price of the property.  Based on new construction sale prices from 2017-2020 that would be approximately $77,000.

The Public Hearing was continued until the next Planning Board meeting on March 25th to allow time for additinoal review and comment.   NSAR was in attendance to provide public comment. Once the amendment is finalized it will be moved to be presented at Town Meeting later this year.

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2.27.20 Housing in Ipswich Public Forum

Ipswich is having its first Public Forum on Monday, March 23rd as the town begins the process of updating its Housing Production Plan (HPP).  A HPP is a community's proactive strategy for planning and developing affordable housing. The forum will include a presentation on Ipswich’s housing needs and focused discussions on local housing priorities and strategies.


All are welcome to attend; you can register here.

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2.20.20 New Research on Coastal Flooding & Home Values

Data scientists from First Street Foundation and Columbia University have expanded their
peer-reviewed housing market research to include 2.5 million coastal properties in Massachusetts,Maine, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island and found that increased tidal flooding caused by sea level rise has eroded $403.1 million in relative home values between 2005 and 2017. Coastal homes in Massachusetts were hit hardest, losing $273.4 million in relative appreciation.

First Street's data identified the top 5 Massachusetts hardest hit cities which included: Saugus, Nahant and Salisbury.

Homeowners can learn how much relative value their personal property missed out on over the 12 year study period and how much value it is projected to lose over the next 15 years at . is the first publicly available database that gives coastal residents, homeowners, and prospective homebuyers access to comprehensive flood risk and property value loss information.

First Street Foundation is a 501(c)(3) tech nonprofit that quantifies and communicates the impacts of sea level rise and flooding.

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2.19.20 Peabody Voices Opposition to 40B Development

Neighbors and city officials have voiced their opposition to a proposed development of 133 condos at the site of the former J.B. Thomas Hospital site. 

Hemisphere Development Group LLC. Is looking to develop the site under Chapter 40B.  Since Peabody does not meet the state minimum of 10% Affordable Housing stock under 40B, the development is not required to meet all local zoning regulations if at least 20% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions.  The development is proposed to include 34 Affordable Units, which would be 25%. Hemisphere had submitted a different, 110-unit senior condo plan to the city last year but withdrew it amidst opposition.

February 18th was the deadline for comments to MassHousing.  Peabody is reported “to have hand delivered … to MassHousing a packet of about 50 letters and a petition with more than 500 signatures opposing the project.”

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