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GA Blog: Peabody

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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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10.9.19 Draft of 5 Year Housing Production Plan to be Presented to City Council

 

Peabody’s latest 5-Year Housing Production Plan is set to go before the City Council.  A vote will be taken at a later date after the presentation is made.

One of the focuses of the plan is affordable housing. Peabody only has 9.27% of its housing units considered as Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI), of which 78% are rentals and only 2% are ownership units.  This would allow a developer to utilize 40B, a state law which overrides local zoning for the construction of affordable housing.

The plan also notes a growing gap between incomes and housing costs.  The average median household income has only risen around $400 between 2010 and 2017.  In turn the median home value has increased $106,000.  Noting a priority need is more starter homes and options for downsizing

Some strategies, characterized in the plan as preferred by the municipality, include modifying its FALA ordinance (Accessory Dwelling Units), pursuing a 40R/40S smart growth overlay district, the promotion of nontraditional housing models, and changes to the cluster development ordinance among others.

NSAR will be watching for developments and opportunities to comment moving forward.  You can find more information on the plan and the plan itself 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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