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GA Blog: Swampscott

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1.15.19 Meeting Notice: Swampscott to Hold Public Forum on Proposed 40R Smart Growth Overlay District this Thurs 1/17

The Town of Swampscott will hold a Public Forum on the proposed Chapter 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District this Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:30 - 8:00 P.M. in the Cafeteria of the Swampscott Council on Aging (Senior Center) located at 200R Essex Street

Summary of Proposal

The Town of Swampscott's Planning Board & Board of Selectman have proposed a 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District in the area surrounding the historic Swampscott train station. The Overlay District would provide allowances, guidelines and regulations for new development and redevelopment, focused on revitalizing underutilized properties.

This proposal would promote mixed land use (commercial, residential, institutional and open space), create new, diversified and higher density housing opportunities (25% affordable required), encourage compact, transit-oriented development in walkable areas, and foster economic development, tax revenue, and additional financial incentives from the state.

The Overlay District must receive input from the community and a two-thirds vote at Swampscott’s Town Meeting in May.

Background on Chapter 40R Smart Growth Zoning

Chapter 40R provides for direct financial incentives to municipalities when they adopt zoning overlay districts intended to facilitate the production of housing and mixed-use development at specified “smart growth” locations. Chapter 40R seeks to substantially increase the supply of housing and decrease its cost, by increasing the amount of land zoned for dense housing. It targets the shortfall in housing for low- and moderate-income households, by requiring the inclusion of affordable units in most private projects.

More on 40R Smart Growth Zoning is available here and the Public Forum Notice from the Town of Swampscott is posted below and on the town's website

North Shore Association of REALTORS® Position

NSAR generally supports 40R Smart Growth Zoning. In accordance with NSAR’s Public Policy Statement, REALTORS® support efforts by North Shore cities and towns to address the underlying demand for housing stock by developing programs that foster community revitalization and economic growth in accordance with Smart Growth principles, including the creation of adequate workforce and affordable housing. REALTORS® support incentive based, market-driven and innovative land use planning techniques that use land more efficiently, while recognizing that property restrictions should always balance with the property rights

REALTOR® Call for Action

NSAR encourages you to attend Thursday’s Public Forum. If you plan to attend or have any questions, please let us know by replying to this email or contacting NSAR at 978-232-9410. 

WHAT: Town of Swampscott Public Forum on Proposed 40R Smart Growth Overlay Zoning District
WHEN: Thursday, January 17, 2019 from 6:30 – 8:00 P.M. 
WHERE: Swampscott Council on Aging (Senior Center) Cafeteria, 200R Essex Street

Swampscott 40R Smart Growth Overlay


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12.14.18 Local News: New Zoning Overlay on Track for Swampscott Train Station

A proposed zoning bylaw could help Swampscott encourage the right kind of development for the blocks surrounding the train depot.

Town officials hosted a public forum on Tuesday to break down the intent behind the Smart Growth M.G.L 40R Overlay District Act, according to Angela Ippolito, chair of the Planning Board. The bylaw allows for the development of dense residential and mixed-use projects near transit stations and town centers, according to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development. The projects often include more affordable housing.

More coverage the proposal from The Lynn Item.

More information on the proposal available here from the Town of Swampscott


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5.25.18 Local News: Swampscott Looking at Smart Growth Project

The Town of Swampscott is considering funding a study to help plan for a smart growth zoning change in the neighborhood of the exisiting train station. Smart Growth Overlay Districts are a tool used to encourage communities to create residential or mixed-use districts which are more dense than that allowed by existing zoning. Read more about the plan in this article.

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11.12.15 Machon School - Swampscott Development

Machon Elementary School - Burpee Road, Swampscott

The Machon Elementary School on Burpee Road in Swampscott has been vacant since it closed due to budgetary reasons in 2007.  But according to the Salem News, Swampcott officials are moving forward with plans to redevelop the property into one of these potential uses:

  • Senior housing with an affordable aspect
  • Community or recreation center
  • Open space

In August 2015, the town issued a formal Request for Interest, Ideas and Innovation (RFI). The goal stated in the RFI was to determine practical reuse projects for the site, meet community needs and desires, identify the type and extent of market interest in redeveloping the land and inform the final bid proposal process.

There were five bids:  (1) B’nai B’rith Housing, which specializes in affordable senior homes; (2) The Caleb Foundation, which is proposing 17 units of affordable senior housing; (3) the Hudson Group North America and Eagle Development Group; (4) New Seasons Development LLC and North Shore Community Development Coalition; and (5) Ariane Purdy and Jaren Landen.

Swampscott residents are currently being asked to provide feedback on the proposals.  Town Administrator Thomas Younger said the town is committed to putting the 94 year-old building back into use.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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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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9.5.11 Swampscott Housing Authority to meet Sept. 13

According to the Swampscott Reporter, the Swampscott Housing Authority is meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 13, at 5:30 p.m. at its office at 6 Duncan Terrace.

The authority will approve minutes from its Aug. 9 meeting and approve vouchers for September.

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