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Peabody hosting public information session on affordable housing

Posted by Ryan Mooney  May 7, 2012 01:54 PM

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The Peabody Department of Community Development and Planning is holding a public information session regarding affordable housing on Monday night in Jubilee Hall at the Torigian Community Life Center, 79 Central Street, at 6:30 p.m.

Affordable housing consultant Karen Sunnaborg and architect David Eisen will be giving presentations, which can be found online here, regarding the needs of the community - in terms of demographics and housing characteristics - and presenting possible types of housing units and feasible sites for them.

"[The presentations are] basically saying what the current conditions are, what our population is, what our housing stock is and all of that good stuff, so that moving forward they can come up with ways, based on those needs, how we can meet the housing needs of the community," said Stacey Bernson, assistant director of the planning department.

Massachusetts Chapter 40B - "a state statute, which enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 20-25 percent of the units have long-term affordability restrictions" according to mass.gov - requires 10 percent of Peabody's housing (and all communities in the state) to be affordable for people with low to moderate income. The city fell below that designated number in 2010.

The information session, as with the one last Monday, is part of the first stage of developing a housing production plan to reach that 10 percent again. About 196 units are needed to reach the mark.

"The second part will be the consultant will actually come up with a recommendation based on the data," Bernson said. "And then we will have public hearings and public comments for people to give their input on whether they think they're good ideas, or they have some other ideas, but moving forward there's certainly more opportunity for public input."

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