TEWKSBURY – The Tewksbury Select Board met on August 9, 2022 at Town Hall.
The board approved the mandate for the state’s primary on September 6, 2022 and named election staff and details of police assignments. City Clerk Denise Graffeo encouraged voters to check their polling location as some precincts have changed.
The council discussed plans to build Tewksbury houses on two town-owned plots with THB chairman Bruce Panilaitis. The city assembly has approved the use of land on Florence Avenue, Rebecca Lane and Cart Path Road to add five affordable homes to the city park by 2024.
Panilaitis said the Cart Path Road project is on hold as lot line details are resolved, but asked council to formally transfer ownership of the Florence and Rebecca lots to the nonprofit.
Council members raised issues of back taxes on the Florence Avenue property, which has a debt of nearly $150,000; The THB planned to cover tax arrears through affordable housing trust funds.
Member James Mackey said the city should sell the land on the private market to cover costs, but council voted 4 to 1 to approve the transfer, with Mackey dissenting.
Council resumed a discussion on affordable housing for veterans. Council voted to allocate $500,000 to the non-profit Veterans Housing Soldier On to build 21 affordable veterans housing units at 1660 Main Street. request. The allocation is approximately 10% of the total balance of the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.
Members Jay Kelly and Mark Kratman voted against funding.
The council reviewed the town’s housing production plan for 2022 with Chris Hayes of the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments and Deputy City Manager Steve Sadwick. They shared that 30% of households in Tewksbury are burdened with housing costs, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.
Given that the city is expected to fall below the 10% affordable housing threshold once the 2020 census is certified, Sadwick and Hayes discussed several types of affordable housing to come up with a future housing plan. The city will host pop-up events at the Community Market and town hall meetings to gather feedback from residents on affordable housing strategies.
The board reviewed a presentation on the new DPW/school maintenance facility.
The board approved a joint application for a Starbucks supply license for the new 3,331 square foot facility on Main Street. The store is scheduled to open on September 26.
The council returned to an ongoing discussion about an unauthorized contractor’s yard at 1323 South St. on the Andover border. The council planned to send another letter to the town of Andover asking for action on the matter, as several residents complained of noise and landscape issues.
The council voted to appoint former planning board member Eric Ryder, who recently resigned, to the elementary school building committee as a planning board representative. The board also named new assistant superintendent of schools Lori McDermott to the committee.
During committee reports, Mackey shared that cybersecurity firm Dragos is donating about $95,000 to the city in free services and technology to protect critical infrastructure and help secure water and power systems.
Council members also shared their four priorities for the year, including managing aging infrastructure, affordable housing stock, completing Route 38, and building a positive relationship with the state hospital. of Tewksbury.
The next meeting is scheduled for September 13, 2022. Residents can find previously recorded meetings at youtube.com/TewksburyTV. The meeting can be viewed on Comcast Channel 99 and Verizon Channel 33 or attend in person at City Hall.