SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Local News

April 25, 2013

Beverly drops housing project

Plan for affordable homes near train station was opposed by neighbors

(Continued)

Ascolillo said the project would have provided much-needed housing for military veterans and Beverly families. One of the houses would have been designed for a disabled military veteran.

“The need for veterans’ housing is incredible,” he said. “A lot of men and women are returning from eight years of war. We thought we had a way of addressing that here in Beverly.”

Rush said the neighborhood is not opposed to affordable housing, “but that project does not make sense for that lot. It is just too dense for that lot.”

Ascolillo said the lot will remain as it is for now, with the family who lives in the existing home remaining there.

The legal dispute revolved around whether the Housing Authority could count parking spaces in the adjacent MBTA parking lot in order to meet lot-size zoning requirements. A fence separates the housing lot from the train station parking lot.

The Housing Authority had acquired the housing lot in 2002 from the MBTA for a nominal $10 fee.

Ascolillo said he felt the Housing Authority would have won its court case.

“If we didn’t, we would not have pursued that,” he said.

The Housing Authority will now concentrate on a five-year modernization project to improve the 650 units that it manages throughout the city, he said.

“We’re going full steam ahead on transforming a lot of these units that we manage in Beverly,” he said.

Staff writer Paul Leighton can be reached at 978-338-2675 or pleighton@salemnews.com.

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