Edited from the print edition with a corrected email address of  [email protected] and updated response date.

Published January 24, 2019


NORTH READING— In an unusual turn of events, the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency has offered a two-week extension of time for the public comment period on the Chapter 40B development proposal of 200 rental units at 20 Elm St. But the clock is ticking as the new deadline for comments to be received by the state is Friday, Feb. 1.

Originally, the public comment period was set to expire last Wednesday, January 16 but the town requested an extension of time of 60 days in order to review the proposal more thoroughly, perhaps to include assistance of outside consultants. Town officials had not heard whether their extension request would be granted so they completed revisions to the nine-page letter of opposition last Tuesday, incorporating the many concerns raised by a roomful of opponents at last Monday’s Select Board meeting, and sent it to MassHousing by overnight mail delivery.

Hundreds of residents also submitted letters of concern and opposition to area state legislators, the governor and Mass Housing, both on their own and to be included in the packet compiled by the town at the request of MassHousing.

Formerly the site of the Thomson Country Club’s function facilities, pool, driving range and tennis courts, the 24.2 acre parcel was sold in 2012 to Nick Yebba and was transformed into Resorts North, which includes the pool, Teresa’s Prime Restaurant and Grill 19. The proposal, by NY Ventures, seeks to subdivide the property into two lots, using 19 acres for the five four-story apartment buildings with underground parking and surface parking, and the remaining acreage for the restaurant and other uses.

In exchange for being allowed to override local zoning requirements for density, frontage, parking and other considerations, as a Ch. 40B application, the developer must set aside 25 percent of the units to be rented to those of low and moderate incomes (approximately 80 percent of the median regional income range).

The town is currently 20 units short of the state quota of 10% housing stock defined as affordable, at 9.6%.

The developer is currently in the process of seeking his project eligibility letter (PEL) from MassHousing. If such eligibility is granted an application would be filed for a public hearing process before the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA). His stated timeline would include seeking approvals from the town this spring and summer, beginning construction in the spring of 2020 and having first occupancies in the spring of 2021.

Members of the public who wish to include their comments in the next packet to be sent by the town to MassHousing may email their word documents to: [email protected] or mail them to Community Planning Department, Town Hall, 235 North St., North Reading MA 01864 by 10 a.m. on Friday, Feb. 1 in order to make the state’s deadline by the end of the business day on Friday.

(Please note this is a change from the print edition that incorrectly used “planner” instead of “planning” in the email address. The CPC has created an alias email to redirect comments that may be sent using the incorrect email address. Extending the deadline to Friday morning is being done to accommodate those who may not have the benefit of seeing the corrected email address before the next print edition; however, staff would appreciate receiving your comments as soon as possible so they may prepare the packet being sent to MassHousing.)

A copy of the town’s opposition letter to this application is posted on the town’s website, www.northreadingma.gov.