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GA Blog: Beverly

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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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7.2.19 North Shore Transit-Oriented Development Discussions

 Multifamily projects built around North Shore commuter rail stations could help alleviate Greater Boston's affordable housing crunch, housing advocates told Congressman Seth Moulton on Monday.

Moulton, a Salem Democrat and advocate for public transportation and rail travel, met Monday with Harborlight Community Partners Executive Director Andrew DeFranza, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Executive Director Andre Leroux, and Tracy Corley, transit-oriented development fellow at MassINC, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, to talk about transit-oriented development.

"One of the key tie-ins to the work that we have been doing in this office is the connection between housing and transportation," Moulton said, "part of the solution to the housing crisis in downtown Boston isn't just building more housing in downtown Boston but improving the rail infrastructure so you can live easily in a place like Salem or Lynn and commute to work in downtown Boston."

 

Full Salem News Coverage here

Greater Boston 2019 Housing Report

 

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6.14.19 Attention Beverly Brokers - Your Opportunity for Input on City’s New Master Plan

PlanBeverly, a one-year initiative that will engage the community in creating a framework to guide the responsible growth and preservation of the city, has released a survey giving residents an opportunity to provide input into the master plan process.

The master plan will situate Beverly in the context of the region and help Beverly residents articulate a shared vision for the coming decades. The survey replicates some of the discussion questions from the PlanBeverly Public Workshop on May 14, 2019 and dives deeper into some of the issues discussed at that meeting. The survey will remain open until July 20, 2019, and is a great opportunity for brokers working in Beverly make their voices heard in the master plan process.

Take the PlanBeverly survey here.

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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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5.2.19 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, plan.beverlyma.gov.

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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