Zoning Changes for Proposed Waterfront Development

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

The Lynn Council Rules and Ordinance Committee voted Tuesday night to set down a pair of proposed zoning changes for a public hearing, likely in March, which would help ease the path for proposed housing developments along Lynn’s waterfront if passed.

Speaking after the meeting Inspectional Services Director Michael Donovan said the pair of zoning changes essentially would take effect in time to benefit recently proposed housing projects at the old Bescon Chevrolet property on the Lynnway and the old GE Gear Factory along the Saugus River, behind the Lynnway near the Riverworks commuter rail stop.

Donovan explained that one of the two changes will allow for a reduction or elimination of the requirement that 75-percent of first floor development be set aside for commercial uses, while the other would relax parking requirements and both would only effect development of more than 350 residential units.

“Our zoning code in those (waterfront) districts was updated in 2007, but the market has changed quite a bit since then,” said Donovan. Today, the city cannot find developers that are willing to put commercial uses and residential uses in the same building and the newer apartment and condominium developments cater to buyers and tenants that rely on public transportation, so the need for parking on those developments is not as great as it was.

Proposed zoning changes must be advertised for two weeks prior to a public hearing, so the issue will not be taken up at the next Council meeting on February 23.

Donovan said it is likely that the hearings will be held at a March meeting.

Developer Minco Development recently unveiled plans to construct a $90 million residential housing development on the former Beacon Chevrolet site, which would include 348 units of housing and approximately 5,000 square feet of commercial space on the first floor.

The site is well located within easy walking distance of both the Lynn Central Square commuter stop and the Lynn Ferry dock.

That project, which will also require state permits to build near the waterfront, is aiming for a Spring 2017 construction start.

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