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GA Blog: West Newbury

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9.30.11 West Newbury Votes on Projects for Community Preservation Act Funds

The Newburyport Daily News recently reported that the West Newbury Community Preservation Committee recently gave a list to the Finance Committee that recommended five projects for funding through the Community Preservation Act. If approved by the finance committee a vote will take place at a special Town Meeting next month.

The proposed projects would use $607,820, and commit another $900,090 of the current $1.79 million CPA balance. Within the CPA budget, $209,246 targeted for open space; $108,199.20, historic resources; $199,646.00, community housing; and $1,282,204.06, for unrestricted amounts

In a September 14 meeting, the CPC rejected a proposal, with a 3 to 4 vote, for $1.3 million to cover 11 improvements at the Dr. John C. Page Elementary School.

Three projects that were recommended to the Finance Committee include $200,000 to cover the first phase of an $825,000 restoration project for St. John's Hall and church rectory at 928 Main St., $163,000 for new roofing and improvements to the heating and cooling systems at the GAR Memorial Library, and also $1.1 million for the Park and Recreation Department to purchase a 22-acre property and another $100,000 to create an access road and small parking lot for the area.

Approval for these projects will require a majority vote.

Read the entire Newburyport Daily News article.

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8.22.11 Erosion Lowers Property Taxes for Six Plumb Island Homeowners

The Newburyport Daily News recently reported that six Plumb Island beachfront homeowners that owned land most affected by erosion will be granted tax breaks. The land owners had filed appeals on their 2010 property taxes stating that erosion had decreased the square footage of the land they were being taxed on; however, it was the “stigma” of bad press that finally granted them the break.

Once the town decided that the property assessments had to be reconsidered due to the special circumstances, the appellate tax board awarded the property owners with a 15 percent abatement, “a sufficient adjustment to compensate for the existence of a ‘stigma.’” The report stated that the bad press likely had a negative effect on the value and marketability of the properties in question.

The six property owners have already received their 2010 abatement checks, ranging from $1,200 to $1,500, and some will receive the 15 percent abatement for the 2011 fiscal year as well. "We have yet to determine how we will implement this ruling into our ongoing valuations of property," said Carrie Keville, the town's administrative assessor. "The assessors are working on what actions will be taken, and the results will be reflected in the fiscal year third quarter bills, which are sent out at the end of December."

Read the entire Newburyport Daily News article.

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5.5.08 Rail Trail Continuing to be Debated

The Tri-Town Transcript is reporting that the proposed rail trail, a 26-mile trail to run from Salisbury to Danvers, is continuing to be debated by committies and town selecteman.

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11.20.07 Moseley Property in West Newbury Receives $285,600 Grant from State

According to the Newburyport Current, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Self-Help Program has recently funded $8 million in grants to 23 communities to conserve 1,405 acres of land. West Newbury’s Mosely Property, an extension of the 800-plus acre Mosely property in Newburyport that forms Moseley Woods and Maudslay State Park, received $285,600 to protect 22.2 acres, including an open field and frontage on Indian Hill Road. According to the article:
Since 1961, Energy and Environmental Affairs’ Self-Help Program has helped cities and towns acquire land for conservation and outdoor recreation such as hiking, wildlife watching, fishing, hunting, and cross-country skiing. To qualify for grants, communities must supply local matching funds, and the protected open space must be open to the public… This year’s grant round includes approximately $6.2 million in state funding and $1.7 million from the federal Land & Water Conservation Fund, which EEA’s Division of Conservation Services administers for the Commonwealth.
For more information on the Massachusetts Executive Office of Energy and Environment Affairs, Self-Help Program, click here. Read the entire Newburyport Current article

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11.12.07 Merrimack River Dredging Project Survives Presidential Veto

The Eagle Tribune reported recently that the U.S House of Representatives overrode President Bush’s veto for the Water Resources Development Act of 2007, which would allow the Army Corps of Engineers to study the possibility of dredging the Merrimack River from Newburyport to Haverhill, a 16-mile stretch.

According to the article, “Newly elected U.S. Congresswoman Niki Tsongas, D-Lowell, was among the lawmakers to cast an override vote. Tsongas said the dredging is important to Haverhill's downtown renaissance − deeper waters would allow larger boats to dock in Haverhill, bringing in more visitors to shop and eat downtown.”

Read the entire Eagle Tribune article. Photo courtesy of Greater Haverhill Chamber of Commerce

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11.10.07 November 9, 2007 Legislative Breakfast

On Friday, November 9th, NSAR sponsored its 4th Legislative Breakfast in 2007, attended by State Senator Steven Baddour (D-1st Essex) and State Representative Harriett Stanley (D-2nd Essex).

The Breakfast was held at ABC Home Inspections, Inc. and ABC Real Estate Training Institute in Haverhill; NSAR would like to thank Affiliate Member Andy Consoli for allowing us to use his conference room and facilities (seen here).

MAR Associate Counsel, Margy Grant, presented the five legislative topics on the agenda and gave the legislators the Realtor® position on each issue. These issues included:

1. Transfer Taxes. Realtors® oppose real estate transfer taxes as bad tax policy for several reasons including: a community wide responsibility should be paid for by the entire community; a transfer tax is inequitable and discriminatory as it singles out a small segment of the population [specifically home buyers & sellers] to pay for a community wide need; a transfer tax is exclusionary because it would increase the cost of home ownership; a transfer tax would be an unstable source of revenue due to the instability of the real estate market; a transfer tax would subvert the Proposition 2 ½ override process; the state legislature has already given cities and towns many equitable tools to create affordable and workforce housing through passage of Community Preservation Act, Chapter 40B, and Chapter 40R and 40S.

2. An Act Protecting Children from Poisoning. Proposed legislation SB. 1230 would (a) require lead inspections on all sales of property, instead of at the buyer’s option; (b) require owners and sellers of property to abate lead in soil and tap water; and (c) require letters of compliance for rental units to be renewed every two years, regardless of whether children reside in the unit, or whenever there is a change in occupancy, if that is earlier.

3. An Act Providing Information to Real Estate Buyers. Proposed legislation H. 323, S. 201 is a little unclear but seems to suggest that a homeowner would be expected to review the databases of nearly a dozen different governmental agencies and then create some type of report or hire and pay someone to do it for them. It is not clear how many millions of dollars this could cost Massachusetts homeowners every year or that buyers and sellers could review this data and provide an accurate assessment of what implications, if any, information on one of these databases would have on a home.

4. An Act Relative to the Disclosure of Wetlands on Property. Proposed legislation H. 767 seeks to require that a real estate broker disclose to prospective buyers that a property to be sold may be in its entirety, or in part a wetland as defined in Chapter 131 of the General Laws of or any other regulation or local by-law of the municipality where the property is located. It is the Realtor® position that however well intentioned this proposal may be, it would create an impossible standard for real estate licensees to meet and generate confusion for consumers.

5. An Act Relative to Smart Growth Housing Trust Fund (S. 132) and An Act Relative to Financing the Smart Growth Housing Trust (H. 160). Realtors® support both these bills, as it would create a steady stream of revenue to support the continued success of 40R Smart Growth districts.

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