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GA Blog: Peabody

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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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7.17.19 Peabody’s 25% Affordable Housing Requirement Lowered to 20%


In April, it was voted by City Council to create a requirement of 25% affordable housing units for large developments.  At the same time the building height allowance was also raised to 5 floors.

After just 12 weeks those numbers have been voted to come back down.  First, the building height allowance was taken to 4 floors instead of 5.  Then on July 11th the Industrial & Community Development Committee, a sub-committee of the City Council, unanimously voted to lower the affordable housing percentage from 25% to 20%.

Curt Bellavance, the Community Development director, is quoted as saying: “We are looking for a compromise to get it to 20 percent” referring to the original 15% sought by the city and the 25% decision of the council.

The revised rule will go to the Planning Board and then to a public hearing from there.

Read the full coverage of before and after this decision in the Item here and here.


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5.24.19 Zoning Ordinance Aims to Turn Commercial Land into Housing for Families

Hearings on an amendment to the zoning ordinance to create a Residential Overlay District in areas currently zoned BR along Route 1 South in Peabody were held on April 18th and 24th, and it was passed 10-0 by the Peabody City Council at the April 24th meeting. This came after the amendment was presented  by Peabody’s Director of Community Development and Planning at the Planning Board’s April 19th meeting.

The Overlay District allows for the construction of multifamily housing in and around the North Shore Mall property as well as on parcels along Route 1 Southbound. The Overlay District comes with an assurance that all projects of eight units or more would be 15% affordable housing, a number which, according to the Salem News is more than the City currently requires on larger multifamily projects.

The creation of this overlay district is one method being utilized in the current push, led by Gov. Baker, to increase housing production throughout the state in the hopes of improving the amount of affordable housing available by building up the overall stock of homes on the market.

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3.5.19 Housing Watch: 120 Senior Condos Proposed for former J.B. Thomas Hospital Site in Peabody

Developers have reduced the number of senior condos from 135 to 120 in what they are calling King Residence in a redevelopment of the former site of the J.B. Thomas and Curahealth Boston North Shore hospitals.

About 135 people turned out to the Wiggin Auditorium in City Hall to listen to a new proposal from consultants for owner Hemisphere Development Group LLC.

The owners are proposing to tear down the old hospital buildings and put up three buildings in what would be an over 55 condominium development.

Two of the buildings would have 38 units and one would have 44 units. The site is bounded by King Street, Ellsworth and Southwick roads.

More on this proposal is available at The Salem News.


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2.21.19 Housing Watch: Apartments Set for One Main Street in Downtown Peabody

According to Peabody Main Streets, One Main Street in downtown Peabody will be getting a facelift along with 20 new apartment units, in addition to the retail and restaurant space presently available.

More on this project available here.


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2.20.19 Housing Watch: Housing Plan for Howley Street Factory in Peabody Withdrawn

The owners of a former chemical factory at the corner of Howley and Walnut streets have withdrawn a request to rezone the property so it could be converted into apartments.

Peabody attorney John Keilty asked the City Council last week to withdraw the request to rezone 26 Howley Street from General Business District, which does not allow residential uses, to Business Central, which does. The council voted in favor of the request to withdraw.

The owner of the property is 26 Howley Street Trust of Salem, trustee Patricia Flomp.

At a hearing earlier this month before a City Council subcommittee, Keilty said the building lacks commercial tenants, so the owners wanted to add two stories to the top, for a total of five stories, and convert it to apartments.

But councilors raised a number of concerns about the plan, making it uncertain that a zoning change would win approval.

One concern was that the building might be a "sick building." Keilty said, however, that it had passed air-quality tests on a number of occasions. The building was tested as required by state law, he said, when the Flomps acquired the building in 1997 and had the old tanks removed.

Ward 3 Councilor James Moutsoulas argued that the area would be better off zoned for business and not housing. And Ward 2 Councilor Peter McGinn said the building sits in a flood plain, and flooding would only get worse with climate change.

McGinn's motion — for a negative recommendation on the zoning change to the full council — passed unanimously. The Planning Board had endorsed the zoning change at an earlier hearing.

More on this from The Salem News.


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