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GA Blog: Gloucester

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11.13.19 Gloucester City Councilors in Suit over Special Permit Decision

A recent filing in Land Court attempts to annul a Gloucester City Council decision to deny a special permit to developer Paul Bevilacqua on the property of 116 East Main St in Gloucester.  The special permit was requested in order to develop two buildings on the site, each with 4 condo units, instead of the current approved use as a three-family.

The development proposal did have approval from the Zoning Board of Appeals and the City Council’s Planning and Development subcommittee.  In the final vote of 5-3 against, two of the three Planning and Development subcommittee members switched their previous vote after a public hearing where a majority speaking opposed the project.

The property is currently under purchase and sale and Land Court will hear the filing on December 5th. If annulled this would be the second time in recent months that a City Council special permit decision is thrown out.  In October, an approved permit on Wingaersheek Rd was successfully challenged by a neighbor.

For more on the court case and to see the filing itself you can read the article in the Gloucester Times here.

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11.6.19 Energy Efficient Affordable Housing Development in Gloucester Gets State Support

The North Shore CDC development project Harbor Village in Gloucester was awarded $120,000 today from the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center’s Passive House Design Challenge program.  The project was one of eight around the commonwealth to receive such funding due to their designed energy efficiency. 

The program also specifically focused on multi-unit affordable housing projects.  Housing and Community Development Undersecretary Janelle Chan said, “Today’s awards will advance eight affordable housing developments, which will provide more than 500 units for low and middle-income households. We are thrilled to be supporting housing development that is safe and affordable for families, and is built to Passive House standards, reducing carbon emissions and lowering households’ energy costs.”

Passive House is a green building certification where the building uses extremely low levels of energy to create a comfortable living environment year-round.

Back in July, the Harbor Village project was one of 28 projects awarded funds as part of the state's 2019 Rental Housing Awards.

You can read more about today’s announcement here.

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9.24.19 Gloucester Adopts Maximum Short-Term Rental Community Impact Fee

With a unanimous vote of the City Council, Gloucester has adopted a Community Impact Fee for Short-Term Rentals.  This adds 3% onto the already 6% Gloucester collects from local lodging excise taxes.  The city says it will use the funds raised from the Community Impact Fee exclusively towards affordable housing initiatives and projects.

Jim Destino, the City’s Chief Administrative Officer, was quoted as saying: “We value the revenue and feel that it levels the playing field with the already established lodging establishments in the City.’”

This new fee stems from the framework built by An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals, which was opposed by the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS®, and is one of the first around the state.  In accordance with the new law a city of town can “impose upon an operator a community impact fee of not more than 3 per cent of the total amount of rent for each transfer of occupancy of a professionally managed unit that is located within that city of town."

REALTORS® should be aware of and educated on the taxes that need to be collected and remitted when working with short-term rental properties.

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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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12.3.18 Housing Watch: Projects on the Horizon in Gloucester

The City of Gloucester has a number of housing projects on the horizon as the community works to meet the goals of their 2017 Housing Production Plan which calls for 434 multi-bedroom housing units and 192 new single-family units by 2020 to meet projected demands. Forthcoming projects include the conversion of the former Cameron’s property into 30 affordable housing units, a 200-unit rental housing complex to be built as part of the Fuller School redevelopment project, and the conversion of the current Cape Ann YMCA into 50 units of affordable housing on Middle Street.

More on these projects from the Gloucester Daily Times.

Gloucester

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9.17.18 Housing Watch: Region Needs to Address Housing Crisis, North Shore Mayors Say

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll, Gloucester Mayor Sefatia Romeo Theken, and Lynn Mayor Tom McGeen discussed housing priorities and upcoming projects at the North Shore Chamber of Commerce’s State of Region breakfast at Danvers’ Doubletree Hotel on Wednesday, September 12. More from The Salem Gazette.

Mayor Driscoll: “It’s a real stress in many of our cities, and it effects seniors, working families, young adults and folks living on the street most assuredly,” said Driscoll. “We have over 1,300 seniors on the wait list for subsidized affordable housing in Salem and the wait is over 18 months. For families, it’s twice that.” Driscoll said the region needs to support new housing at every level - affordable, market rate, rental and ownership.

Mayor Romeo Theken: “Affordable housing is for the workforce, low-income; it’s a sliding scale,” she added. “People don’t understand that.” Romeo Theken encourage communities to market one another’s tourism resources and to find avenues to work together. She also said, in her community and others, more people need to roll up their sleeves and get involved.

Mayor McGee: “As Boston becomes more and more unaffordable, people are looking to move to cities like Lynn,” he said. “Transportation has been an issues I have been fighting for my whole career because I believe that it just makes sense economically not just for Lynn, but for our entire region.”

Driscoll

Salem Mayor Kim Driscoll addresses the North Shore Chamber of Commerce's State of the Region Breakfast saying the region needs to support new housing at every level - affordable, market rate, rental and ownership. 

Photo Courtesy: Wicked Local/William J. Dowd

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