Salisbury considers Beach Road property for affordable housing

This 0.59-acre parcel of state-owned land at 39 Beach Road, Salisbury, could be transferred to the town for construction of affordable housing.JIM SULLIVAN/Staff photo

SALISBURY — The wheels are in motion to add some affordable housing on Beach Road.

State Rep. Jim Kelcourse, R-Amesbury, and state Sen. Diana DiZoglio, D-Methuen, filed a joint petition requesting the transfer of state-owned property at 39 Beach Road to the Salisbury Affordable Housing Trust in mid-July.

The bill was referred to the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government on Sept. 2.

Town Manager Neil Harrington said if passed, the bill would give the Affordable Housing Trust control of the property for affordable housing.

“This is an unused piece of state-owned property in town,” Harrington said. “It is a vacant lot that is just sitting there and the state hasn’t utilized it for over 10 years. So I thought it would be a good idea to see if we could get the state to agree to transfer the property to the town, specifically to the Affordable Housing Trust.”

Harrington’s request was approved by voters at the spring Town Meeting in May and would allow the Affordable Housing Trust to decide how it would like to redevelop the property.

“This is a way for the town to acquire a property at no cost that we would then have control over and be able to decide what type of affordable housing proposal we would want to entertain for the property,” Harrington said. “Normally, affordable housing is built by private developers on private property that they own. This would be different, this would be property that the town owns.”

The 0.59-acre property was sold to the state in 1989 for $265,000, according to the town assessor’s office. The property was assessed earlier this year at $268,000.

“At some point, there will have a hearing and I will be able to go in and testify in favor of it,” Harrington said. “Then, we will see what the folks at the state say and hopefully they will agree that they don’t have any further use for the property and they will hopefully give it to the town.”

Staff writer Jim Sullivan covers Amesbury and Salisbury for The Daily News. He can be reached via email at jsullivan@newburyportnews.com or by phone at 978-961-3145. Follow him on Twitter @ndnsully.

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