Mayor seeks zoning overlay to allow mixed-use, more housing

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
October 20, 2016

PEABODY — A zoning change could allow for more residential development in the city’s business-residential zones.

Mayor Ted Bettencourt’s proposal would create an overlay for BR zones, adding mixed-use by a special permit. Those districts mainly stretch along Route 114, Cross and Prospect streets near the mall, along Route 1 and a small portion of Lowell Street.

Mixed-use means development with commercial and residential components.

“I felt that those potential mixed-use projects would fit well in that area,” Bettencourt said.

But not all city councilors agree — the council’s Industrial and Community Development Committee voted 3-2 against it. The proposal will continue on to the Planning Board, but with a negative recommendation from the council’s committee. After the board considers it, the proposal will head back to the full council.

Councilors who voted against the move feel “it added too much to an overcrowded area,” according to Tom Gould, who chairs the committee.

But having mixed-use by special permit helps to regulate what could go in, Gould said.

“I think it would have been a progressive move by the council to encourage development,” he said.

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