On 29 Thayer Street Project
The following is a letter sent to Katharine Lacy, permitting specialist, Comprehensive Permit Program, Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency regarding the proposed redevelopment
Dear Ms. Lacy,
Be advised that the Revere City Council, at its meeting of January 23, 2017, overwhelmingly endorsed the January 20th comments of the City of Revere regarding the proposed redevelopment of 29 Thayer Avenue in our Riverside neighborhood as a 78-unit 40B project. Those comments are incorporated herein by reference.
Our resolution included both City Council concurrence with concerns expressed by the City about the unsuitability of this site for a residential development of that size and density as well our support for 40B Safe Harbor status for Revere based on more that 1.5% of our developable land already being devoted to affordable housing. The City Council specifically endorsed the detailed documentation of such Safe Harbor status provided to MassHousing, which indicates that 2.3% is the applicable percentage in our community, well above the 1.5% threshold established by the Department of Housing and Community Development.
We would also reiterate the very relevant and timely point that Revere does not need Chapter 40B to assure the creation of affordable housing in our community. Indeed, this would be the first Chapter 40B project in Revere history. Beyond the fact that the largest share of housing in Revere has been and remains economically affordable, we continue to add to our Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) as determined by DHCD; and we do so in numbers far higher than the 20 affordable units now being proposed for 29 Thayer Avenue. All this has been done without recourse to Chapter 40B penalties and incentives in the past; and there is clearly no need for such strategies now or in the future.
The actual resolution passed by the Revere City Council on Monday is attached for your reference; and pursuant to that, we join with the City of Revere and its Economic Development Director in urging MassHousing to rule against the 40B Site Eligibility application filed for this project in December of 2016 by The Residence at Riverside LLC.
Ward Five Councillor
Robert Haas, City
Revere City Council Resolution of 1/23/2017
Re: The Proposed 40B 29 Thayer Avenue Development
RESOLVED: To support the positions expressed in the January 20, 2017 from the City of Revere to MassHousing regarding the site eligibility of 29 Thayer Avenue in the Riverside neighborhood for a 78-unit rental apartment complex to be designed, permitted and built pursuant to Chapter 40B. Specifically, we agree that:
The City of Revere should have Safe Harbor status from the requirement of Chapter 40B since more than 1.5% of our developable land is devoted to eligible affordable housing, as detailed and documented in an application for Safe Harbor status that has already been prepared filing and is now available for review that shows 2.3% of our developable land area is devoted to eligible affordable housing.
The problematic environmental conditions of the site, including regular and increasing flooding from the adjacent Pines River, have not yet been addressed and resolved in a manner that would permit sustainable residential development on this site.
A development of the height and density of this proposed multi-family project is clearly incompatible with the character and quality of the surrounding residential neighborhood and would increase the household count in Riverside by more than 60% above the 126 single family homes that now compromise this small and distinctive neighborhood.
The adverse traffic impacts of such a development would have serious accessibility and safety consequences for both Riverside residents and the patrons of the adjacent Gibson Park, young and old.
This proposal would seriously and unnecessarily compromise or conflict the zoning and permitting policies and procedures of the City of Revere and with the powers of prerogatives of the City Council itself, none of which have been obstacles to the continuing creation of new affordable housing throughout the community, all this has been done without recourse to the Chapter 40B strategies.
The Revere City Council therefore joins with the Mayor and his administration in requesting and recommending that MassHousing not approve the Site Eligibility of 29 Thayer Avenue for the proposed Residences at Riverside project that is now before you for review.
Ward 5 Councillor Johns Powers