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GA Blog: Wenham

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3.11.20 Demolition Delay Draft at Upcoming Wenham Town Meeting

Wenham has a proposed Demolition Delay Bylaw by the Historical Commission on the warrant for the upcoming Town Meeting on April 4th.  You can find a draft of the bylaw here.

The proposal would impact structures built in 1875 or earlier.  If the structure is determined by the Historical Commission to be a ‘significant building’ and preferably preserved then there would be a 6 month waiting period before a demolition permit could be issued.

Wenham does not currently have a demolition delay in their zoning bylaws.

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6.25.15 Affordable Elderly Housing in Wenham

Wenham Elderly Housing project

According to the Salem News, the Wenham Zoning Board of Appeals has approved a 60-unit elderly affordable housing project on a 3.5 acre lot on Maple Street in West Wendham, 

The developer, Harborlight Community Partners, headquartered in Beverly, specializes in assisted living, elderly and family housing on the North Shore.

The project must still work its way through an appeals process and secure funding.  There is a 20-day appeal period for the ZBA decision, The project is currently facing an appeal on its Board of Health approval.  That appeal is based on the septic system used on the property, which Hill said will be discharging 6,600 gallons of sewage into a 20,000 gallon septic tank and leaching field on the 3.5-acre site.

Opposition is also concerned about the dollar amount attached to the sale of the property, should Harborlight buy it from its present owner, and the use of public funding to pay for the site’s construction.

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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12.10.14 Affordable Housing Proposal in Wenham

Proposed 60-unit elderly affordable housing project on Maple Street in Wenham
The Salem News reports that Harborlight Community Partners is pursuing a 40B project on Maple Street in Wenham.

Read more about Chapter 40B here.

The proposed project would consist of 60-elderly-only units, build on a 18,588sf, roughly 35-foot-tall building on 3.5 acres of land.  About 65 parking spaces are planned, according to Harborlight executive director Andrew DeFranza.

All 60 units will be affordable, one-bedroom apartments measuring 650 square feet.  They’ll rent at two rates: 48 units at $988 for households with an income below 60 percent of the area median income and 12 units at $529 for households with an income less than 30 percent of the area median.

If approved, the project will be financed in part with public dollars.  Harborlight, based out of Beverly, MA who already owns and operates assisted living, elderly and family housing throughout the North Shore, is looking to secure $975,000 from Wenham’s Community Preservation Committee and another $850,000 from the Wenham Affordable Housing Trust.

Read the entire Salem News article.


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3.20.12 High-end Independent Living Proposed for Historic Wenham Building

The Salem News recently reported that the 50-acre estate and mansion known as Penguin Hill in Wenham, MA could be turned into an independent living development with over 230 condominium units for seniors. If approved, building could start as soon as July 2013.

"It is a way to preserve a magnificent property and leave it so the next 50 years will be as distinguished as the last 50," Penguin Hall owner James Mullen said.

In order for the project to become a reality a new special overlay zoning district will have to be approved by Wenham voters at Town Meeting in May. Currently there is no law in the zoning books that would cover this specific project.

The 87-year-old, 20,000-square-foot mansion would be used as the “centerpiece” of the 65+ community. The plan include roughly 150 condominium units that will be “fanning out like wings” from the central mansion. The main building will be used as the grand lobby and a common space including a movie theater, a café, restaurant and a library. Other emendates include an indoor greenhouse, putting green, spa and lap pool.

Units are expected to sell between $350,000 to over $1 million depending on size and location.

Read the entire Salem News article.

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6.17.11 Project Creates Affordable Housing and Improved Home for Food Pantry

The Salem News recently reported that construction of an affordable housing project that is years in the making will begin this week in Hamilton, MA.

Located at 69 Willow Street, Firehouse Place will create a newly improved space for the Acord Food pantry-- which has served for residents of Hamilton, Wenham, Ipswich, Topsfield, Essex and Manchester-by-the-Sea-- and will also include four, one-bedroom affordable housing apartment units. When first built the building was used as a firehouse.

The Project is a mission of Harborlight Community Partners, a Beverly-based nonprofit organization, and will be supported by Community Preservation Act funds.

Construction of the project is expected to finish in the fall.

Read the entire Salem News article:

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