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GA Blog: Swampscott

Showing blogs: 16 of 16

6.19.20 Projects Working within Remote

Some local projects are getting approvals as remote Zoom meetings become more familiar, but others might have to wait until in-person meetings can resume.

In Swampscott, site plan approval for a 55+ independent living facility may have to wait for in-person meetings to return.  This project has had vocal opposition from neighboring residents since the original proposal seven years ago.  The petition, which was continued to the June 24th meeting, has already been continued again to the July 28th meeting.  The issue could be continued until an in-person meeting can be safely held.

On the other hand, in Peabody a 38-unit condo development was approved by the City Council with a 9-2 vote.  This approval was debated for more than 2 hours between those that saw this as an opportunity for revitalization and those that saw further density in a congested area.

Housing across the spectrum, from market rate units to affordable housing to senior living, is in critical need on the North Shore. Communities are working to balance that need with the need for a thorough review of the proposals.

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11.19.19 Swampscott Passes Fee-in-Lieu Update

Article 9 passed with a two thirds majority vote at Swampscott’s Special Town Meeting on Monday.  The article further defined the Fee-in-Lieu payment that can be made by developers as an alternative to building affordable housing units per Swampscott’s inclusionary zoning bylaw.

"(The change will) make it easier to calculate and not leave funds on the table when a developer cannot produce the units and then is directed to make a payment," said Kimberly Martin-Epstein, chairwoman of the Affordable Housing Trust.

You can read a full description of the Town Meeting from the Lynn Item here.

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11.14.19 Swampscott Set to Address Fees-In-Lieu

At the Special Town Meeting on Monday November 18th, Swampscott has an Article to amend the zoning bylaws as it pertains to Fee in Lieu payments for Affordable Housing Units. The update will specifiy the payment amount and overall process in more detail.

The Swampscott inclusionary zoning bylaw applies to any subdivision of land that results in 6 or more dwelling units, any assisted or independent living facility development that includes 5 or more assisted or independent living units, or any project that results in a net increase of 10 units.  If a development meets the aforementioned requirements then at least 10% of the units must be established as affordable housing units or a Fees-in-Lieu payment can be made to the Affordable Housing Trust.

 

The Article up for consideration states that “Such Fee in Lieu shall be, for each required affordable unit, equal to 75% of the most current Total Development Cost per unit for projects of similar nature and size for the Metro Boston/Suburban Area in which Swampscott is situated, as articulated and made available by DHCD in the annual Qualified Allocation Plan.”

The Article will require a two-thirds vote to pass per the Massachusetts requirement for zoning changes.  You can read the warrant 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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7.2.19 North Shore Transit-Oriented Development Discussions

 Multifamily projects built around North Shore commuter rail stations could help alleviate Greater Boston's affordable housing crunch, housing advocates told Congressman Seth Moulton on Monday.

Moulton, a Salem Democrat and advocate for public transportation and rail travel, met Monday with Harborlight Community Partners Executive Director Andrew DeFranza, Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Executive Director Andre Leroux, and Tracy Corley, transit-oriented development fellow at MassINC, a nonpartisan public policy think tank, to talk about transit-oriented development.

"One of the key tie-ins to the work that we have been doing in this office is the connection between housing and transportation," Moulton said, "part of the solution to the housing crisis in downtown Boston isn't just building more housing in downtown Boston but improving the rail infrastructure so you can live easily in a place like Salem or Lynn and commute to work in downtown Boston."

 

Full Salem News Coverage here

Greater Boston 2019 Housing Report

 

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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

Swampscott

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