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GA Blog: Beverly

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12.18.19 PlanBeverly Makes Master Plan Recommendations

The Master Plan Recommendations, which were developed in conjunction with the public through PlanBeverly, have been made available to the public for review and comment. 

You can find the recommendations here.  If you would like a paper copy those are available at the Senior Center, the Library, and the Planning Department.

In 2020, Beverly will create its new Master Plan based on these recommendations.  This commenting period will be open until January 10th.  There will be further opportunities for comment when the full Master Plan is developed next year.

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12.11.19 Property Taxes Rising on the North Shore

Cities have begun announcing the new property tax rates for 2020 and in several local municipalities taxes will be on the rise.

In Peabody the average homeowner will see an increase of $194.  In Beverly the average homeowner will see an increase of $226.  In Salem, the average owner of a single-family home will see the lowest increase of the three at $87.26 but condo owners will see an increase of $160.77.

Although tax rates are indeed rising, much of the increase in the tax bill is due to higher assessment values.  In Salem alone the assessed value of the entire city rose by 12% and condo values are rising faster than single family values.  This is why the average condo owner in Salem is seeing almost double the increase in their bill compared to the average single family owner even though the tax rate is the same for both.

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11.27.19 Third PlanBeverly Public Workshop

On Thursday December 5th, PlanBeverly will be holding its third Public Workshop. The event will be held from 6:30-8:30pm at the Senior Center, 90 Colon St.

The main purpose of the meeting will be to review and comment on draft recommendations that have been developed from the last 7 months of meetings and analysis. A formal presentation will take place between 7:15-7:45pm.  Preceeding the presentation will be an open house to review the material and after there will be break-out tables with a scenario activity. 

PlanBeverly is a year long initiative by the city of Beverly to receive public comment for the upcoming 2020 Master Plan.

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11.18.19 Beverly Public Meeting for Multi-modal Mobility Hub

On November 21st Beverly will be conducting a public meeting to discuss transforming the Beverly Depot Train Station and adjacent area in a Multi-modal Mobility Hub.  A Mobility Hub coordinates many modes of transportation to converge at a transit service as to make use easier and more attractive to a wide variety of residents and commuters.

The project stems from Beverly receiving a Housing Choice Initiative Capital Grant.  The Grant will cover up to 30% of the design costs to create the Multi-modal Mobility Hub.  This Mobility Hub concept was recommended in MAPC’s North Shore Mobility Study (2017) and in Beverly’s Bass River District Vision and Action Plan (2014).

The public meeting will be held on November 21st at 7-8:30pm at the City Hall council Chamber.

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9.11.19 Focused Ideas for the Future of Beverly

On September 11th, NSAR gathered REALTOR® residents, REALTOR® brokers, and REALTOR® leaders to meet with Aaron Clausen, Director of Planning and Community Development for the city of Beverly, to discuss PlanBeverly, housing, and the formation of a new Beverly Master Plan.

Aaron began the meeting with an overview of how PlanBeverly has progressed so far and where it is headed next.  So far, the surveys and public meetings have accumulated over 600 unique data sets, more or less evenly distributed amongst residents from different parts of the city. The next immediate step is to hold Neighborhood Meetings in each ward.  These meetings will span from September 19th to October 29th.

Next flowed a discussion on the perceived and actual needs of the city, mostly centered around housing but also tangential topics such as transportation and economic development. 

Affordable housing was considered a strong point of need by the group.  Aaron outlined what Affordable Housing means in Beverly.  Since Beverly is part of the Boston Metro Area, what is considered “Affordable Housing” as defined by percentage of Area Median Income (AMI) might surprise some.  At 80% AMI (sometimes called workforce housing) a 2 bedroom apartment could rent for up to around $1700 a month and still be considered Affordable Housing.  Aaron stressed the desire for the city to build a diverse range of Affordable Housing at many different levels of AMI.

The construction of new purchase units instead of rental units was another point brought forward.  This topic focused not just on single family construction but a “deep need for a variety of housing.”  Aaron explained the city has pre-meetings with developers to explain the parameters before a development is ever submitted.  This cuts the permitting timeline down to around 30-60 days, a very efficient timeline.  Even so the multi-unit developments that have been submitted are not purchase units but instead rentals, where the investors are seeing larger margins and less risk.  The note was added that many of the newly constructed rental buildings could be turned into condos down the road.  Another avenue for new purchase units could be the adoption of a ‘Great Estates’ Ordinance.  This would allow a special permitting process for large estates to be converted into multi-unit dwellings while still retaining their historic characteristics.

Senior Housing was discussed as another central issue.  Aaron explained that the demographics of Beverly have been steadily changing.  From the 1970s to now the population has not increased significantly but the types of households have.  Most households are now smaller and owners are increasingly either in their 20-30s or over 60.  This has maintained an increase in demand for housing without the population rising significantly.  The newly constructed, transit-oriented rental units downtown, that were thought to be appealing to young professionals, are actually being more overwhelmingly rented to empty nesters.  Beverly has seen very little in the way of developer interest in building over 55 communities.  Accessory Dwelling Units by right was noted as another way to combat the senior housing issue.  Multi-generational living is in demand with buyers in the market today but the permitting process is seen as preventative.

The North Shore Association of REALTORS® will continue to be involved as these conversations move forward.  You can find more information on PlanBeverly here.

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7.19.19 Governor Baker Announces 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards

On July 18th in Swampscott, the 2019 Affordable Rental Housing Awards where announced by Governor Baker.  The North Shore was very well represented with four local recipients. The awards in total consist of nearly $80 million in direct subsidies and $38 million in Low Income Housing Tax Credits to fund the development, renovation, and preservation of housing opportunities throughout Massachusetts. 

 

The four local winners are:  Cabot Street in Beverly, which will construct 24 new units as well as rehabilitating 45 existing units.  All of these units will be restricted to individuals earning less than 60% of the area median income.  Harbor Village in Gloucester will be a mixed-use project consisting of a commercial ground level and 30 new units which will be restricted to 60% of area median income.  The Tannery in Peabody is a preservation project.  When the rehab is completed there will be 200 units reserved for those earning less than 60% of area median income and 35 units for those earning less than 30% of area median income.  Finally, The Senior Residences at The Machon in Swampscott is a redevelopment project of an elementary school for senior citizens.  There will be 38 units available for seniors earning less than 60% of the area median income and 8 more units for seniors earning less than 30% of the area median income.

 

You can find the state house’s official press release here.

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