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September 16, 2013

Beverly housing complex may expand

BEVERLY — A $20 million shopping plaza might not be the only development sparked by the proposed Brimbal Avenue interchange project.

Northridge Homes, a 98-unit housing complex between Brimbal Avenue and Sohier Road, is “very seriously” considering an expansion on its 15-acre site, according to the city’s funding application for the interchange project.

“(Northridge) may be the first housing entity to take advantage of improved egress (provided by the Brimbal Avenue project),” the application says.

A possible expansion at Northridge could add to the traffic concerns of residents who spoke out vehemently against a plan to build a $20 million shopping plaza on Brimbal Avenue, during a public hearing on Sept. 3. The hearing is scheduled to continue tonight at 8 at City Hall.

The shopping plaza is one of the key economic developments cited by the city as a reason the state should fund the $5.4 million first phase of the Brimbal Avenue project. In its application filed with the state on Thursday, the city for the first time also mentioned the possible expansion at Northridge Homes.

Asked how an expansion at Northridge would affect traffic in the area, Mayor Bill Scanlon said, “I would guess there’d have to be some impact.”

Northridge Homes is a housing cooperative in which residents share ownership through a corporation. It has a combination of low-, moderate- and market-price units.

Richard Woodbury, president of the Northridge board of directors, said the board is “exploring” the option of expanding.

“We have about 10 acres of open space,” he said. “In theory we could expand there if we ever needed to. It’s been indicated by the residents here that they want it to stay affordable for all people, so that’s what the board’s charge is. There is a need right now particularly for veterans’ housing. We have to explore it.”

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