Chapter 40B Housing Development Application for 20 Elm Street filed with ZBA

Jul 11, 2019 by

Posted on: Thursday, July 11, 2019

After many months of discussion and speculation, the official application proposing a 200-unit apartment complex on the site in and around the former driving range at the Thomson Country Club at 20 Elm St. was filed with the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) Wednesday, after press time. 
This means the first PUBLIC HEARING on this application must be opened by the ZBA within the NEXT 30 DAYS, which starts the clock ticking in the 40B process of a decision being rendered by the ZBA within 180 DAYS of this process being initiated… this is a provision under the “comprehensive” aspect of developments filed under 40B — that hearings be held expeditiously to prevent a community from dragging its heals on giving the applicant its public hearing…..However, the 180-day process can be extended at the WRITTEN request of the applicant (at any point after the initial public hearing is opened). This is done generally when the applicant needs more time to respond to a request for additional information the board requests. Or the ZBA has told the applicant it needs more information to make a fully informed decision). Other timeline limits are spelled out in the application which is available online.
Because it has been filed under the state’s Comprehensive Permit law known as Chapter 40B, its density and scale is allowed to override the town’s local zoning regulations. In “exchange,” the developer is required to offer, at a minimum, that 25% of the apartments would be rented at “affordable” rates to households who meet certain income guidelines, such as being at a lower or moderate level in comparison to the immediate region.
A few months ago an “affordable” 1 bedroom unit at Edgewood Apartments on Lowell Road could be rented to a 1-person household with an income not exceeding about $56,800 or 2 people with a combined income of $64,900 etc. (the income rate goes up per the number of people in the household). Current affordable rent at Edgewood is 1BR: $1,436 or 2BR $1,574… (those are the only BR options. Under the plan agreed to with the town for that site 3BR units were not allowed.)
 Edgewood was created under what was called Ch. 40R, a cousin to 40B that was introduced at the time it was being developed.
It includes LINKS that will take you to various pages on the town website that go into greater detail on the PROPOSAL by the developer. It is advisable to review all of these materials so that you may inform yourself in advance of the PUBLIC HEARING PROCESS that will begin shortly. It will make following along their oral presentation much easier if you have a basic understanding of their overall proposal.
(The date of the hearing has not yet been selected by the ZBA It will be published in the North Reading Transcript in print and on our website)
~  Maureen Doherty, editor, North Reading Transcript
Posted July 11, 2019
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) received an application from NY Ventures for a Chapter 40B housing development at 20 Elm Street on Wednesday, July 10, 2019 (after press time)
The application materials have been posted as quickly as possible for public viewing (  The format of accessing the application materials is expected to be updated in the near future.
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.
The Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) is required to schedule a hearing to begin consideration of this project within the next 30 days, per state law.  A public notice of the hearing date will be published in the North Reading Transcript newspaper, mailed to abutters, and posted on the town website (
As has been previously stated, NY Ventures expressed a desired to evaluate alternative development options in response to the town’s previous feedback, and had identified an alternative project that would require approval of one or more zoning bylaw amendments by Town Meeting for all of the existing 20 Elm Street property (including the existing restaurant).
This alternative would include 162 units with a 10% affordable component in three four-story buildings (including ground level garages) on the former driving range. This alternative is to be reviewed and discussed at the next Select Board meeting of Monday, July 15.  The proposed zoning bylaw amendment(s) would allow for future development, including potential townhouses or other housing, on the portion of the parcel on which the restaurant and function facility is currently located.

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