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GA Blog: Essex

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2.10.20 Essex Considers Mixed-Use Downtown


The Essex Planning Board is preparing a new zoning bylaw to create a mixed-use zoning district downtown. The concept has been shown support by the Board of Selection, the Economic Development Committee, and the Essex Housing Coalition. The most widespread trend in zoning for multi-family housing has been to adopt mixed use zoning.

After completion of the proposal by the Planning Board a public hearing will precede the Town Meeting in May.  Since the change pertains to zoning bylaws it will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

You can read more about the Essex proposal here.


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3.9.15 Habitat for Humanity Lottery - 2 Ipswich Condos

6-8 First Street, Ipswich, MA

Wicked Local reports that Habitat for Humanity is building two affordable condos at 6-6 First Street in Ipswich, MA.   The two, 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom duplex condominiums (“condexes”) will be side by side in one building, originally built in 1890 as workforce housing for the Ipswich mills.  The interior, currently in terrible condition, will be gutted and rehabbed. The exterior will be restored to what it was historically. 

Habitat has already built three homes on Essex Road, across the street from the Bruni Market Place.

The town took the First Street property for nonpayment of taxes and the property is now part of the Affordable Housing Partnership, said Terry Anderson, affordable housing coordinator.  The town put out a request for proposal to rehab the building and chose Habitat for Humanity.

Each condo is to be sold for approximately $130,000, at no interest.  

The homeowner will be chosen by lottery among qualified buyers - those who live or work in Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham or Rowley.  The chosen buyer will be requires to spend 400 hours of construction duties as a condition of the purchase.

There are income requirements - the family’s total gross income must fall within the specific ranges based on family size: Three members, $33,880 to $50,820; four members, $37,640 to $56,460; five, $40,70 to $61,020; and six $43,700 to $65,520.

The application deadline is April 30.  

Read the entire Wicked Local article.

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5.1.14 Conomo Point Sales in Essex, MA

According to the Gloucester Times, following a Town Meeting vote, four Conomo Point properties could be soon sold to private owners.  Selling these properties (there is a total of 8) allows the town to move forward with its plan to open up Clammer’s Beach, effectively creating more public beach access for the town. Properties proposed for sale include parcels 19/97, 19/99, 19/101 and 19/102; they are proposed to go to the current land lessees who own the structures there.

Along with selling the four properties, a conceptual drawing passed out at the meeting shows Clammer’s Beach opened up to the road with parcels 19/95 and 19/96 as open land. The beach — twice as big as before, according to Selectwoman Lisa O’Donnell — would include a boat ramp, an adjacent park and a kayak ramp for residents.

Selling the four properties would result in $1 million in revenue for the town, Finance Committee Chairman Jeffrey Soulard said, adding that it would also bring in real estate tax each year.   Essex’ total operating budget is $15.5 million.

Here is the Essex Warrant following the town meeting:

Read the entire Gloucester Times article.

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4.22.13 Manchester Essex Conservation Trust - 50th Anniversary

Conservation Area via the Old Road along Manchester Essex Conservation Trust

According to the Gloucester Times, the Manchester Essex Conservation Trust celebrated its 50th year of land protection and property conservation.

The MECT owns about 3,500 acres of protected land, most notably the Manchester Essex Woods.  In the last few decades, the Trust has been deeded several parcels of land as gifts throughout the year, and it also makes property purchases, including a 150 acre parcel purchased roughly five years ago.

Trust president Charlie Kellogg said the trust has changed throughout the years, While its first incarnations were only geared toward preserving land for development, the trust has grown to recognize the fledgling wildlife in conservation lands and has made efforts to preserve the flora and fauna as well.

Read the entire Gloucester Times article.

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6.17.11 Project Creates Affordable Housing and Improved Home for Food Pantry

The Salem News recently reported that construction of an affordable housing project that is years in the making will begin this week in Hamilton, MA.

Located at 69 Willow Street, Firehouse Place will create a newly improved space for the Acord Food pantry-- which has served for residents of Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, Topsfield, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea-- and will also include four, one-bedroom affordable housing apartment units. When first built the building was used as a firehouse.

The Project is a mission of Harborlight Community Partners, a Beverly-based nonprofit organization, and will be supported by Community Preservation Act funds.

Construction of the project is expected to finish in the fall.

Read the entire Salem News article:

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2.9.10 First Time Homebuyer Workshops

The Cape Ann Beacon is reporting that First Time Homebuyer Workshops will be held at the Gloucester Housing Authority offices on Feb. 10, 17, 24, and 25. The four nights of classes are from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Local guest speakers will talk about safe mortgages, credit scores, down payment grants, when to contact a Realtor®, home inspections, foreclosure prevention, buying foreclosed properties, legal issues, multi-families, insurance, and more.

Class size is limited and expected to fill quickly. The cost is $55. Pre-register by printing the form at, calling Kathy Erkkila at 978-281-4770 ext. 110, or stop by the office at 259 Washington Street, Gloucester. There is a discount for early registration.
Full attendance will earn the certificate for HUD, MassHousing, MHP, and most lotteries.

Read the entire Cape Ann Beacon article.

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