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GA Blog: Salem

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5.29.20 Salem Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Vote Tabled

Last night, the Salem by-right ADU Ordinance was before the City Council for a vote of first passage.   The ordinance recieved a considerable amount of public comment from Salem residents on both sides of the issue.  The ordinance also featured a substainal change from the language previously presented during the Public Hearing and what was reviewed by the Planning Board.

Only hours before the meeting the ordinance received an edit to add a mandatory cap on the amount of rent a property owner could charge for an ADU unit. This cap would be set at 75% of the HUD Fair Market Rent (used in calculations for voucher programs).  In exchange, the property owner would get a partial property tax exemption.  The property tax exemption had previously been offered only if the property owner opted to have the ADU be an Affordable Housing unit.  You can read the new language here.

Ultimately, the ordinance was tabled, moving the vote for first passage to the next City Council meeting.

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5.26.20 MROD Projects Get Green Light

The Salem Planning Board has given the green light to two North Shore CDC projects that were able to apply for special permits because of the Municipal and Religious Overlay District.  NSAR wrote in support of the overlay when it was considered by the City Council last year.

The two projects, previously vacant religious buildings, will create a total of 62 apartments and add much needed affordable housing. The Immaculate Conception project will offer preference to those working in the arts. The St. James project will give preference to residents 55 and over.

Next step will be coordinating and receiving funding for the project.  You can read more about the wait for funding here.

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5.5.20 Salem Public Hearings Conclude

Yesterday, Public Hearings for the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance and the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance were concluded during a joint meeting of the Salem City Council and Planning Board.

The vote to conclude the Public Hearings moves the ordinances to the Planning Board for their recommendation.  The Planning Board may make recommendations for changes upon review of the ordinances.  Two possible changes that were discussed during the meeting were to require special permits for ADUs in new construction and the removal of R1 zones from the ADU ordinance.  NSAR will continue to monitor the ordinances as they move through the Planning Board and City Council.

NSAR had a letter of support for the ADU Ordinance read into the record by NSAR President Cynthia Nina-Soto at the first Public Hearing.

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5.1.20 Public Hearings Continue for ADUs and Inclusionary Zoning in Salem

On Monday, a joint meeting of the Salem City Council and Planning Board will meet at 7pm over Zoom to hear additional public comment on the Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance and Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.

This will mark the third public hearing for the ADU Ordinance and second for the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.  The Salem Planning Department is expected to deliver a presentation on the Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.

You can find the meeting agenda and Zoom link here.

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4.27.20 START Launches

Salem has launched START, the Salem Together Assistance and Recovery Toolkit.  The toolkit has resources for both residents and small businesses in Salem who have been financially impacted by COVID-19.

For homeowners, several local banks are offering at least 3 months of deferred mortgage payments with no late fees or credit penalties. Deferred payments are added to the conclusion of the mortgage and spread out over the same timeframe.

For renters, Salem is offering rental assistance to those who qualify.  The assistance consists of two $500 monthly payments paid directly to the landlord.  This is available per household to those making 50% or less than the Area Median Income.

For small business owners, Salem has small business relief grants of up to $10,000.  To qualify for the grant, the business must be both for-profit and have a brick and mortar location.  The grant would not require repayment as long as the terms of the grant agreement are met.

You can find more information about START here.

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4.14.20 Salem Public Hearings Continue


Last night, the Salem City Council and Planning Board met jointly for another Public Hearing to discuss the proposed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance and Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance.

Both issues were presented by the planning department. Councilors then asked questions before the meeting was opened for public comment.  No votes were taken on either ordinance.  Instead both Public Hearings will be continued on May 4th. 

This was the second time the ADU ordinance was open for public comment and the first time the public could voice comment concerning the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance.  A further presentation by the planning department about the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance is expected for the next public hearing.


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