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Common Sense Growth in Ipswich's Neighborhoods

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To: Ipswich Selectmen

From: Neighborhood and community members

Date: October 28, 2017

Re: Proposed three-story multi-unit housing project at 25 Pleasant Street

As neighbors and community members, we welcome progress with the vacant lot at 25 Pleasant and support the idea of affordable housing. However, we strongly oppose the proposal for an eight-unit building there.

  1. It’s too much. Pleasant Street currently has 20 single-family homes and one two-family home. They are all modest in size. Town zoning allows only for single-family use by right on an 11,400 square foot lot such as 25 Pleasant Street. A big housing block would create problems with crowding, parking, drainage, snow removal, and many other issues.
  2. It isn’t safe. It’s a high-vulnerability location. Our very young children are used to playing in the street in Blaisdell Terrace and to crossing Pleasant Street. Visibility is poor at that intersection and at the corner of Brownville Avenue, with cars often ignoring the stop sign there. Adding more traffic is not a good idea at all, particularly with its location at a corner and the extent of the curb cuts requested.
  3. It does not fit with the character of the properties around it. Both Pleasant Street and Blaisdell Terrace are streets of small, modest homes and families.
  4. Despite its claim as “affordable housing”, it’s basically market-rate development. Only two out of eight units are to be affordable. The proposal offers the fewest possible concessions to Chapter 40B requirements as a pretext for an unusual density bonus and as a workaround for many other regulatory requirements. This isn’t good either for affordable housing or for the neighborhood.

We urge the Selectmen to respond that this site is unsuitable for multi-unit housing. Minor design modifications won’t change mathematics or the laws of physics. The lot and surroundings are simply too small for a multifamily housing project. Development should conform to Ipswich zoning regulations, not look for ways to get around them.

As neighbors and community members, we oppose multi-unit housing at 25 Pleasant Street.

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