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GA Blog: North Andover

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12.10.13 North Andover Pushes for Changes in Chapter 40B Development

Former Horse Farm located at 16 Berry Street, North Andover
The North Andover Citizen reported that North Andover lawmakers, Senators Bruce Tarr, R-Gloucester, and Kathleen O’Connor Ives, D-Newburyport, as well as Representatives Jim Lyons, R-Andover, and Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, want Chapter 40B, the state’s most powerful affordable housing law, to include permitted affordable units within town -- whether constructed or not -- towards the required affordable housing totals required by state law.

Chapter 40B allows developers to bypass local zoning restrictions if less than 10% of the community’s housing stock is considered affordable, as long as some of the new units are offered to low and moderate-income individuals.  North Andover Town Manager Andrew Maylor says that if North Andover counted every single 40B project permitted for the town towards their total, North Andover would have 9.7 percent of their total housing classified as affordable.  He added that should the hotly-contested "Riding Academy Preserve" project on Berry Street be approved, North Andover’s affordable housing total would reach 11.9%.

The Riding Academy Preserve development project, which proposed a 200 plus unit apartment complex just off of Route 114 has drawn strong opposition from local residents.  Those opposed to the project claim it’ll create more traffic hazards and put a greater strain on town resources.  Currently, according to state law, affordable housing units are only counted towards their total should they be constructed, lived in and reported as inhabited by developers.

Read the entire North Andover Citizen article.

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3.12.13 240 Apartments Planned for Route 114 in North Andover

Former Horse Farm located at 16 Berry Street, North Andover

According to the North Andover Citizen, developer North Andover Holdings LLC is planning on building a Chapter 40B apartment complex along Route 114 in North Andover.  The project is tentatively titled Riding Academy Preserve, which would be six-buildings feature 240 new apartments for rent, along the site of an old farm located at 16 Berry Street (pictured above).

The 40B permit, issued by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, allows a developer to consolidate and expedite the application process for building within a town provided they offer some portion their property at a reduced rate for lower income tenants.  A town must allow developments bearing comprehensive permits to proceed if the community has yet to hit the state-mandated affordable housing quota.  Communities need at least 10% of all property to be classified as affordable;  North Andover is said to be around 6% and therefore subject to Chapter 40B.

North Andover Holdings plans to offer 60 apartments for lower rent in the development.  A typical one-bedroom apartment in the complex would rent for $1463 at market value, but would cost $1091 at the affordable rate.

Read the entire North Andover Citizen article.

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9.10.12 Future Site of North Andover Historic School

The North Andover Board of Selectmen has recently discussed possibilities for development of the Bradstreet School lot, located at 70 Main Street in North Andover, according to the North Andover Citizen.

In a recent town meeting, several Selectmen voiced their opinions on what should be done with the over 100 year old building residing in the downtown North Andover area. The town was finalizing a request for proposals to purchase and develop the property that they will provide to interested developers. The document will have buyers provide information on how their development would affect the downtown area, in terms of traffic, noise and economic growth.

Among the Selectmen it was agreed that the language of the document should be as broad as possible as to not exclude any potential developers, most agreed that the appearance of the building should not be changed due to its historical significance in the town. A deadline for developer proposals has been set for October 17th.

Read the entire North Andover Citizen article.

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2.2.10 Windrush Farm in Boxford & North Andover

Charity Event at Windrush Farm in Boxford / North Andover

The Tri-Town Transcript reported recently that Windrush Farm, a 195-acre mix of fields, forest, and a rare Atlantic White Cedar Bog located in North Andover and Boxford, will be protected land “forever.”

A partnership consisting of the Trust for Public Land (TPL) – a national non-profit conservation organization, the Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation, Inc. (WFTE), the Towns of North Andover and Boxford, and Essex County Greenbelt Association (Greenbelt) purchased the land for $3.5 million with a combination of Town and State funding, private foundations, and 468 individual donors.

The Windrush Farm Therapeutic Equitation was founded in 1964 and provides equine-assisted therapies to more than 300 children and adults with disabilities, including veterans of war.  The Tri-Town Transcipt reports that WFTE is the pioneer of more than 780 programs of its kind supported by the North American Riding for the Handicapped Association; WFTE plans to expand the number and variety of programs to include the general public, such as community gardens and summer camps.

Windrush Farm contains State-recognized critical wildlife habitat supporting rare and endangered species. Its protection creates a nearly 1800-acre contiguous block of conservation land and connects to an extensive trail network including the Bay Circuit Trail and trails in Boxford State Forest. Conserving Windrush Farm also protects the Ipswich River watershed-providing drinking water to more than 330,000 residents in 15 Massachusetts communities.

Read the entire Tri-Town Transcript.

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7.20.08 North Andover Police Station Site

The North Andover Citizen reported that a second option may be available for the site of the new North Andover Police Station. The Merrimack Valley Federal Credit Union Building at 1475 Osgood St., which was now on the market for $1.8 million, is also being considered for the new Police Station. Allen M. Lieb, Architects, who are slated to take on the project planned for the old Bradstreet School at an estimated cost of $8.37 million will also evaluate the Credit Union Building. Voters have approved $930 million for a new police station. Objections to the Credit Union site for not being central in town are countered by references to the anticipated growth on Osborn Street particularly at the former Lucent Technology Plant where apartments, affordable housing, shops, movie theatres, etc. are planned.

Here is the site of the first option.

Read the entire North Andover Citizen article.

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11.10.07 November 9, 2007 Legislative Breakfast

On Friday, November 9th, NSAR sponsored its 4th Legislative Breakfast in 2007, attended by State Senator Steven Baddour (D-1st Essex) and State Representative Harriett Stanley (D-2nd Essex).

The Breakfast was held at ABC Home Inspections, Inc. and ABC Real Estate Training Institute in Haverhill; NSAR would like to thank Affiliate Member Andy Consoli for allowing us to use his conference room and facilities (seen here).

MAR Associate Counsel, Margy Grant, presented the five legislative topics on the agenda and gave the legislators the Realtor® position on each issue. These issues included:

1. Transfer Taxes. Realtors® oppose real estate transfer taxes as bad tax policy for several reasons including: a community wide responsibility should be paid for by the entire community; a transfer tax is inequitable and discriminatory as it singles out a small segment of the population [specifically home buyers & sellers] to pay for a community wide need; a transfer tax is exclusionary because it would increase the cost of home ownership; a transfer tax would be an unstable source of revenue due to the instability of the real estate market; a transfer tax would subvert the Proposition 2 ½ override process; the state legislature has already given cities and towns many equitable tools to create affordable and workforce housing through passage of Community Preservation Act, Chapter 40B, and Chapter 40R and 40S.

2. An Act Protecting Children from Poisoning. Proposed legislation SB. 1230 would (a) require lead inspections on all sales of property, instead of at the buyer’s option; (b) require owners and sellers of property to abate lead in soil and tap water; and (c) require letters of compliance for rental units to be renewed every two years, regardless of whether children reside in the unit, or whenever there is a change in occupancy, if that is earlier.

3. An Act Providing Information to Real Estate Buyers. Proposed legislation H. 323, S. 201 is a little unclear but seems to suggest that a homeowner would be expected to review the databases of nearly a dozen different governmental agencies and then create some type of report or hire and pay someone to do it for them. It is not clear how many millions of dollars this could cost Massachusetts homeowners every year or that buyers and sellers could review this data and provide an accurate assessment of what implications, if any, information on one of these databases would have on a home.

4. An Act Relative to the Disclosure of Wetlands on Property. Proposed legislation H. 767 seeks to require that a real estate broker disclose to prospective buyers that a property to be sold may be in its entirety, or in part a wetland as defined in Chapter 131 of the General Laws of or any other regulation or local by-law of the municipality where the property is located. It is the Realtor® position that however well intentioned this proposal may be, it would create an impossible standard for real estate licensees to meet and generate confusion for consumers.

5. An Act Relative to Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund (S. 132) and An Act Relative to Financing the Smart Growth Housing Trust (H. 160). Realtors® support both these bills, as it would create a steady stream of revenue to support the continued success of 40R Smart Growth districts.

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