40B ZBA hearing tonight at NRHS Performing Arts Center

Aug 8, 2019 by

Please note, in anticipation of the large crowd expected for tonight’s public hearing on the 20 Elm St. 40B application, the meeting will be held in the NRHS auditorium (the Performing Arts Center) rather than the school’s Distance Learning Lab.

This change was made after the print edition of this week’s Transcript was published. The online version will reflect the latest information.

Maureen Doherty, Editor

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40B ZBA hearing tonight at NRHS

By MAUREEN DOHERTY

NORTH READING — Eight months after the public learned of plans by Teresa’s Prime owner Nick Yebba to convert 19 acres of land into a 200-unit apartment complex, the first public presentation of the plan will be held tonight, Thursday, August 8 at 7 p.m. before the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA).

To facilitate a large crowd and the presentation for the 20 Elm St. public hearing, the ZBA meeting will be moved to the Performing Arts Center (PAC) at North Reading High School (NRHS), rather than the school’s Distance Learning Lab (DLL). In order to fulfill the legal requirement of properly opening the public hearing, the board will start its meeting in the DLL for the purpose of opening the hearing only and then will immediately reconvene in the PAC. The public is asked to proceed directly to the PAC, according to Town Administrator Michael Gilleberto.

The project has been filed by NY Ventures LLC under the state’s Chapter 40B law known as a comprehensive permit because it allows developers to override local zoning regulations for setback, height, density, etc., and streamline the approval process if fewer than 10% of a town’s housing stock is available provided at least 25% of the units are rented at below market rates to residents whose incomes fall below 80% of the area median income. Because the units would all be rental, the 75% of market rate units along with the 25% under market rate units would be counted toward the town’s low to moderate income housing stock. North Reading has 9.6% affordable housing.

Public comment will also be taken by the ZBA at this hearing. Over 400 people wrote letters in opposition to the plan when MassHousing held its comment period period last December while trying to determine if the site and developer were viable to apply for consideration of approval of the plan.

The site includes land near the banks of the Ipswich River formerly used as a golf driving range by the Thomson Country Club. Much of the opposition to date stems from the proximity of the site to the river that supplies drinking water to over 300,000 residents of downstream communities, like Lynnfield.

Application online to review

More information on the hefty application NY Ventures filed with the ZBA can be found on the town of North Reading’s website (www.northreadingma.gov) under the Community Planning Commission page where “20 Elm Street” has its own drop down tab.

Application materials can be accessed by copying this link into a browser window: https://bit.ly/2JwIHEH

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NOTICE SENT FROM THE TOWN WEDNESDAY AT 8:50PM:

Zoning Board of Appeals Hearing for 20 Elm Street Project is Thursday, August 8th at 7:00 PM at the Middle/High School

The Zoning Board of Appeals will hold a public hearing on the application from NY Ventures for a Chapter 40B housing development at 20 Elm Street on Thursday, August 8th at 7:00 PM in the Performing Arts Center at the Middle/High School located at 189 Park Street, North Reading.  Please note a change of room from the Distance Learning Lab (DLL) to the Performing Arts Center (PAC).  Procedurally, the Zoning Board of Appeals is required to open the hearing in the DLL but will immediately continue the hearing to the PAC that same evening.

The public is asked to go directly to the PAC.  Please note that handicapped accessible parking is available on the side of the building that faces the main Middle and High school entrances, and the main High School entrance will be unlocked. The “Main Street” / gym entrance facing the rear parking lot will also be unlocked.

The application materials have been posted as quickly as possible for public viewing here.  Additional information regarding the project may be found by clicking here.

The Project is proposed to consist of five identical residential buildings with four residential stories above a podium parking level. Each building would contain 40 residential apartments, and the Project as a whole would contain 200 units. The breakdown of these units is as follows: 50% one-bedroom units (100 total) in four layout configurations, 40% two-bedroom units (80 total) in three layout configurations, and 10% three-bedroom units (20 total) in two layout configurations.  Twenty five percent (25%) of the units would be affordable.

Read more

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