Moulton aide tours The Cottages at River Hill to review example of smart growth

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Photo: Michael Wood / Nickerson PR

Jason Denoncourt, new economic development director for 6th District Congressman Seth Moulton, recently visited The Cottages at River Hill community in West Newbury for a tour of the property and discussion on smart growth.

Chip Hall, senior vice president of Cottage Advisors LLC, led a tour that also included John Sarkis of the West Newbury Planning Board and Lisa Nickerson, founder of Nickerson Real Estate Partners and sales agent for the development. Denoncourt completed a walkthrough of the 30-acre community and expressed his support for the project, which is in its third and final phase of development and has only 12 home sites remaining.

The Cottages at River Hill is a community that combines the lifestyle of pocket neighborhood living with right-sized homes and modern design. Nestled within a picturesque landscape, each custom home boasts quality craftsmanship paired with views of rolling countryside, a common neighborhood “pocket park,” access to miles of walking trails and a short walk to local shops in the West Newbury village.

“The Cottages at River Hill is an excellent example of a developer meeting a need for right-sized and reasonably priced housing options in the North Shore,” said Denoncourt. “We’re seeing a significant shift in housing needs due to the aging baby-boomer population, young professionals entering the housing market and changing demographics of the sixth district and the North Shore as a whole. This type of well-planned residential community really meets a need. Congressman Moulton’s goals are to bring increased economic development and smart residential growth to the North Shore and that’s what this community provides. What I see here is a true sense of neighborhood with active residents and I’m encouraged by this being a variation from what you typically find with new development in this part of the state.”

Specifically, Denoncourt praised how Cottage Advisors resurrected a home design that prominently features the front porch as semi-private social area, which is a departure from the typical backyard lifestyle that homeowners have become accustomed to. By moving the social area to the front of the home, neighbors interact with each other through social events and get-togethers, rather than spending excessive time secluded in an oversized backyard.

“Typically, homeowners often spend their leisure time in their backyard and rarely see their neighbors,” said Hall. “Our residents use their front porch as a semi-private extension of their living room or dining room. They have porch parties all the time – sometimes it’s cocktails on Porch A, or salads on Porch B or even a dinner on Porch C. That’s how you meet each other and develop new relationships with the people in your community.”

Not only does the Cottages at River Hill offer right-sized home options ranging from 1,200 to 2,200 square feet, it is also an example of a luxury community at an affordable price point. Buyers can choose between two and three-bedroom homes, each featuring two-and-a-half baths and deluxe amenities such as stainless steel appliances, private back decks and patios.

“This community is a great example of how innovative zoning can encourage diversity in housing stock” said Sarkis. “Smaller, more manageable homes in a close-knit neighborhood setting, like The Cottages at River Hill, is something that would not likely have been built here in West Newbury otherwise. It certainly fits a need here in these rural areas of the North Shore.”

As Moulton’s economic development director, Denoncourt is charged with identifying methods to stimulate growth in the North Shore towns which constitute the Massachusetts sixth congressional district. Prior to serving in his new role, Denoncourt worked for The Gutierrez Company, specializing in commercial real estate development in the greater Boston area, for eight years. He also worked as a project manager for CBRE. Denoncourt holds a master’s degree in real estate development from Columbia University.


This article was originally published on Wicked Local Amesbury and Wicked Local Newburyport on 11/19/15.