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GA Blog: Rockport

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10.15.19 Rockport Considers Community Impact Fee

Following the 3% Community Impact Fee implemented in Gloucester, the Rockport selectmen are considering implementing the fee themselves.  The 5 member selectmen committee has expressed mixed opinions as they begin to research if a Community Impact Fee is right for Rockport.

Community Impact Fees for short term rentals stem from An Act Regulating and Insuring Short-Term Rentals.  Gloucester led the state in implementing their own Community Impact Fee.  The fee itself can be set anywhere from 0-3%.  The Massachusetts Association of REALTORS opposed the original legislation.

The decision in Rockport is far from final.  The Gloucester Times writes that “the conversation ended with Town Administrator Mitch Vieira saying he will research how the community impact fee has impacted other Massachusetts communities.”

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3.9.15 Habitat for Humanity Lottery - 2 Ipswich Condos

6-8 First Street, Ipswich, MA

Wicked Local reports that Habitat for Humanity is building two affordable condos at 6-6 First Street in Ipswich, MA.   The two, 3-bedroom, 1.5 bathroom duplex condominiums (“condexes”) will be side by side in one building, originally built in 1890 as workforce housing for the Ipswich mills.  The interior, currently in terrible condition, will be gutted and rehabbed. The exterior will be restored to what it was historically. 

Habitat has already built three homes on Essex Road, across the street from the Bruni Market Place.

The town took the First Street property for nonpayment of taxes and the property is now part of the Affordable Housing Partnership, said Terry Anderson, affordable housing coordinator.  The town put out a request for proposal to rehab the building and chose Habitat for Humanity.

Each condo is to be sold for approximately $130,000, at no interest.  

The homeowner will be chosen by lottery among qualified buyers - those who live or work in Beverly, Danvers, Lynn, Lynnfield, Marblehead, Nahant, Peabody, Salem, Saugus, Swampscott, Topsfield, Gloucester, Rockport, Manchester, Essex, Ipswich, Hamilton, Wenham or Rowley.  The chosen buyer will be requires to spend 400 hours of construction duties as a condition of the purchase.

There are income requirements - the family’s total gross income must fall within the specific ranges based on family size: Three members, $33,880 to $50,820; four members, $37,640 to $56,460; five, $40,70 to $61,020; and six $43,700 to $65,520.

The application deadline is April 30.  

Read the entire Wicked Local article.

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1.7.14 Rockport Appeals FEMA Flood Insurance Maps

Bearskin Neck in Rockport, MA

The Salem News reports that Rockport town officials have begun formally appealing new Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) flood insurance rate maps and the base flood levels imposed by the federal agency.

In their appeal, conducted by Applied Coastal Research and Engineering Inc., the town states that they are “firmly of the opinion that the proposed (base flood elevations) determined by the (flood insurance survey) and shown in the preliminary (flood insurance rate maps) covering the town are scientifically and or technically incorrect.”

In Rockport, particularly, the coastal research firm proposed that FEMA’s method of determining the base flood elevations for Sandy Bay, Main Street and Bearskin Neck do not reflect the accurate topography of the area, and as a result, “greatly overestimates the level of flooding” risks for the town.

So far, Rockport is the only community on Cape Ann to appeal the FEMA flood insurance rate maps or the base flood elevation levels.  According to the article, Congressman John Tierney, whose 6th Massachusetts District includes Rockport and all of Cape Ann, has urged communities to challenge the maps, while also calling for a reform of the Biggert Waters Act of 2012.

The act requires owners of all properties with a federal mortgage and within a designated FEMA “flood hazard” to have flood insurance.  FEMA officials have conceded that the law will mean higher premium rates for some, but not all, flood insurance policy holders.

Read the entire Salem News article.

NAR site on Nationl Flood Insurance Program:

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2.28.11 Rockport Applicants Looking to Receive Community Preservation Money

The Rockport Library is one of seven groups that applied for Community Preservation funding
The Gloucester Times recently reported that seven applicants have submitted proposals to receive money from the Rockport Community Preservation fund which contains roughly $828,000 for 2011.  Of the seven applicants four are asking for help to finance affordable housing projects.

The community preservation fund can only be used for historic preservation, open space, recreation, and affordable housing. The Community Preservation Act, which was adopted by Rockport voters in 2003, accrues money through local property tax surcharge revenue as well as a 38 percent match from the state, 

Three of the companies asking for funding towards affordable housing and assistance are the Supportive Living Inc. (asking for $275,000), the Rockport Housing Partnership ($285,000), and Action Inc. ($100,000). The Cape Ann Home Ownership Center is asking for $5,934 to provide local residents with foreclosure prevention assistance. Other applicants include the Rockport Public Library ($63,000), which is looking for funding for external renovations and internal repairs from water damage, and the caretakers of the Alvin S. Brown Scout Hall ($48,000).

Read the entire Gloucester Times article.

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2.9.10 First Time Homebuyer Workshops

The Cape Ann Beacon is reporting that First Time Homebuyer Workshops will be held at the Gloucester Housing Authority offices on Feb. 10, 17, 24, and 25. The four nights of classes are from 6:30 to 9 p.m. Local guest speakers will talk about safe mortgages, credit scores, down payment grants, when to contact a Realtor®, home inspections, foreclosure prevention, buying foreclosed properties, legal issues, multi-families, insurance, and more.

Class size is limited and expected to fill quickly. The cost is $55. Pre-register by printing the form at, calling Kathy Erkkila at 978-281-4770 ext. 110, or stop by the office at 259 Washington Street, Gloucester. There is a discount for early registration.
Full attendance will earn the certificate for HUD, MassHousing, MHP, and most lotteries.

Read the entire Cape Ann Beacon article.

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10.26.07 October 24, 2007 Legislative Breakfast

On October 24, 2007, NSAR hosted its third Legislative Breakfast in 2007. The event was attended by State Representative Anthony Verga (D-5th Essex), Representative Brad Hill (R-4th Essex), and Dan Pawson, Legislative Director for Senator Bruce Tarr (R-1st Essex & Middlesex).

MAR Associate Counsel Margy Grant presented the Realtor® position on the following topics:

1. New proposed Transfer Taxes (S. 1776; S. 1773; H. 3959)
2. New proposed Lead Paint law (SB. 1230)
3. New proposed mandatory Seller’s disclosure in connection with environmental issues (H. 323, S. 201)
4. New proposed mandatory disclosures for real estate licensees in connection with Wetlands (H. 767)
5. Smart Growth funding for Chapter 40R (S. 132, H. 160)

NSAR and the Government Affairs Committee extends a sincere appreciate to the legislators who participated and to all those that attended.

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