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GA Blog: Peabody

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7.20.20 Peabody Development Sees Appeal from Neighborhood

An appeal has been filed in Land Court against the special permit granted by Peabody City Council’s 9-2 to the 38-unit condo development at 40-42 Endicott St by neighbors of the project.

The appeal states that the special permit "was arbitrary, capricious, legally untenable, exceeded the City Council's authority, was obtained in violation of the City Council's own procedures and rules for special permits, and was had via a hearing that was not noticed or published."

The development would replace two vacant commercial buildings but the lot is zoned for only single and two-family homes, hence the need for a special permit. The appeal asks a judge to either reverse the approval (through annulment or denial) or send back it back to the city council with a directive that it should be denied.

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6.19.20 Projects Working within Remote

Some local projects are getting approvals as remote Zoom meetings become more familiar, but others might have to wait until in-person meetings can resume.

In Swampscott, site plan approval for a 55+ independent living facility may have to wait for in-person meetings to return.  This project has had vocal opposition from neighboring residents since the original proposal seven years ago.  The petition, which was continued to the June 24th meeting, has already been continued again to the July 28th meeting.  The issue could be continued until an in-person meeting can be safely held.

On the other hand, in Peabody a 38-unit condo development was approved by the City Council with a 9-2 vote.  This approval was debated for more than 2 hours between those that saw this as an opportunity for revitalization and those that saw further density in a congested area.

Housing across the spectrum, from market rate units to affordable housing to senior living, is in critical need on the North Shore. Communities are working to balance that need with the need for a thorough review of the proposals.

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5.5.20 King’s Residences Gains Site Approval

The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency has given site approval to King’s Residences, the development of 133 condo units at the site of the former J.B. Thomas Hospital in Peabody.

Site approval allows for an application submission to the Peabody Zoning Board of Appeals for a comprehensive permit under Chapter 40B.  Peabody is currently short of the 10% subsidized housing minimum in order to prevent a developer from bypassing local zoning (in favor of less restrictive state zoning) in order to develop affordable housing.  The proposed project would have 34 for-sale, affordable units, 25.56% of the total project.

A letter writing campaign had been organized to oppose the project getting site approval.  There are still steps required of the developer by the site approval letter, such as a traffic impact study and long-term maintenance plan.

The developer now has two years to apply for a comprehensive permit before the approval expires.

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3.11.20 Peabody 'Friendly' 40B Goes to Zoning

The Residences at Farm Avenue is a proposed rental development in Peabody utilizing Chapter 40B.  Mayor Ted Bettencourt has stated that “the city of Peabody is very pleased to support the multifamily residential rental development known as The Residences at Farm Avenue.”

The development has secured a project eligibility letter from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development and is seeking a comprehensive permit from the city.

The Residences at Farm Avenue would have 116 rental apartments in total with a mix of one, two, three-bedroom units.  Six units would be accessible to those with disabilities and 25% of the project would be Affordable Housing at 80% of Area Median Income.  Because 25% of the units are Affordable Housing all 116 of the units would count towards Peabody's Subsidized Housing Inventory.

You can learn more about the proposed project here.

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2.19.20 Peabody Voices Opposition to 40B Development

Neighbors and city officials have voiced their opposition to a proposed development of 133 condos at the site of the former J.B. Thomas Hospital site. 

Hemisphere Development Group LLC. Is looking to develop the site under Chapter 40B.  Since Peabody does not meet the state minimum of 10% Affordable Housing stock under 40B, the development is not required to meet all local zoning regulations if at least 20% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions.  The development is proposed to include 34 Affordable Units, which would be 25%. Hemisphere had submitted a different, 110-unit senior condo plan to the city last year but withdrew it amidst opposition.

February 18th was the deadline for comments to MassHousing.  Peabody is reported “to have hand delivered … to MassHousing a packet of about 50 letters and a petition with more than 500 signatures opposing the project.”

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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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