Developers tout plans for new Wareham affordable housing project

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 06, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Plans for a new 40B development on Cranberry Highway call for constructing 174-units, 40 percent of which will be rented at market rates and 60 percent at affordable rates.

A Waltham-based firm plans to build a 174-unit affordable housing development at 3102 Cranberry Highway in East Wareham, near the intersection of the highway and Red Brook Road.

Dubbed Woodland Cove, the 40B affordable housing development would consist of 32 one-bedroom, 122 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom apartments. Under Chapter 40B, a state law, zoning regulations are relaxed for developers in towns where less than 10 percent of housing stock is considered affordable.

The firm proposing the project, Dakota Partners, plans to rent 40 percent of the units at market rates and 60 percent at affordable rates. Using market rates, there are no restrictions on rent. Using affordable rates, rents must not exceed state guidelines that are determined based upon income.

On Tuesday, Dakota Partners Principal Steve Kominski and Vice President of Development & Construction Jim O’Brien provided Selectmen with a brief presentation on the plans and some background on their company.

Selectman Patrick Tropeano recused himself from the conversation, noting a conflict of interest. Tropeano said there is a pending lawsuit between the current owner of the property and himself. Kominski and O’Brien said they were unaware of the lawsuit.

“This is a problem that needs to be ironed out,” said Tropeano. “This issue was around before the project started.”

Tropeano did not elaborate on the nature of the lawsuit.

Moving on with the presentation, Kominski and O’Brien said the project, if approved, would have three phases. In the first, 48 market rate units would be built partly financed through the state’s Workforce Housing Program. Phase two calls for constructing 63 units of which 10 would be market rate. Phase three would also see 63 units built, 10 of which would be market rate.

Kominski and O’Brien noted that an existing building on the site, The Starlight Motel, would be demolished for the complex.

Both said that potential renters who already live in Wareham or work for the town would be given preference when applying.

Kominski and O’Brien’s visit with Selectmen marked the first time the plans were officially announced. Informally, Selectman Alan Slavin said he spoke with both at length last week.

During their presentation, Kominski and O’Brien listed several similar housing projects their firm has built across New England in Haverhill, Hyannis and New Milford, Connecticut.

Board members did not vote on the project, but will discuss it further next week. Kominski and O’Brien did not provide a timetable for construction.

Comments (39)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 06, 2017 21:47

We've had a good run of stories here in Wareham Week.  The past 10 or so have not been about crime nor were they controversial.  That's good.  We were due for something.  Once the smell of new paint and fresh carpet wears off, we'll have the equivalent of The Woods of Wareham and Brandy Hill all in one place.  Will the Wareham Police Department have an annex build in there?  The good news it that they are ripping down one of the hot motels in order to build this mammoth.  Will those occupants get first dibs?  More good news to me is that it's way over there in East Wareham so I can't see it from my house.  In all seriousness, the bad news is that this place just seems too big and taxing on our resources. This complex could house 700 people just based on the bedroom count...never mind how they jamb them maybe closer to 1000. That's a lot!

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jun 06, 2017 22:11

"Under Chapter 40B, a state law, zoning regulations are relaxed for developers in towns where less than 10 percent of housing stock is considered affordable."


Our "relaxed zoning regulations" are why Wareham is a target for slumlord developers.  Thank God it's in East Wareham where nobody will notice.  Thanks, selectmen.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 06, 2017 22:36

I have a 40B quiz for y'all.  There's a 40B on Swifts Beach Road.  One little farmhouse sat vacant for a while on a good sized yard.  Then they tore it town and all of a sudden, 6 houses were jammed in.  4 were market and 2 were affordable.  Take a ride by and take a guess which are the affordable ones?  The concept is flawed.  Who would want to pay market to live next to that.  It's too risky.  Eventually they all go downhill.

Posted by: Chaka | Jun 06, 2017 22:39

If our town leaders had a spine they would say, "we have over 10 mobile home parks on wareham, that counts as affordable housing." Oh it may not legally count, since Susan Gifford has never managed to make that happen. But it counts. And town leaders can say no (provided they aren't total wimps or in bed with developers).

P.s. Did you know that only subsidized apartment complexes in wareham count as affordable housing? Not the house down the street that sold for $87,000. Or the one that sold for $125,000. Nope. Those do not count as affordable housing. So clearly this whole 40b is just something developers paid politicians to make happen. Are we going to ruin our school system with all these extra kids when we can't handle what we already have? Are we going to clog and congest our town so this company can make a hefty profit? Don't do it wareham.

Posted by: Chaka | Jun 06, 2017 22:42

Also this apartment complex is right next to the onset water well. I don't want construction that close. If you get onset water, you don't either.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 07, 2017 07:23

I guess the sewage treatment plant must have grown on its own. With the Golf course development and now this it must have. I hope that Dakota Partners pays something towards the expansion of the plant. They should be paying the current betterment fee for each of these new units. I think its like $18-19 grand each unit or no build.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 07, 2017 07:36

Why more low income, or affordable housing ? Call it whatever you want, I call it a recipe for disaster. Don't we have enough of this in our town ? Are you trying to better your town, or are you just trying to line your pockets ?

You pay peanuts, you get animals.....

I'll be voting no on this for a number of reasons.

Not to mention, there is already talk about needing a new water tower to replace the existing one in Onset, if this is built the taxpayers will be on the hook for a new tower in no time.

This is bogus, and our town officials know this.

Why not build something like this out Greengate lane, Warren point road, Bass Cove lane, or even Burgess point ?

Because " they " don't want it in their yards....

Posted by: Newlyaresident | Jun 07, 2017 08:17

Where does the Bay Pointe project stand? It's been nit-picked to death by the "experts" on the planning board. It will bring quality home owner investors to Onset, it will generate important new tax revenue, and add to the local economy in general. Maybe Stonestreet would have a better reception if they revise their proposal to include affordable housing!

Posted by: sadie | Jun 07, 2017 08:32

Cranky the town really doesn't have any say when it comes to 40B development until the town meets its low income housing quota 40B's can come in and build without the towns permission.

I think building near the Onset water well might be something the town could use to challenge the choice of building sites.

Gifford and a lot of other state reps have put for bill to count mobile as low income but it seems like developers have more influence than the state reps who have mobil home parks in their town.

Posted by: gottahaveit | Jun 07, 2017 08:32

It's so nice to hear all the comments from the wealthy, fortunate people in town on the "westside".

When the middle class in America is returned from China, maybe we won't need more affordable housing.  Stop blaming this on the "thugs" and "poor".  Take a look at the economy and the diminishing middle class.  This isnt just a Wareham challenge, its a U.S.A. challenge.

Posted by: cranapple | Jun 07, 2017 08:33

Nothing to "tout" about. What are you all doing to our town?,I don't believe these folks live in Wareham. Why are they trying to add insult to injury? I live in a nice and quiet road in E. Wareham and would like it to stay that way.

Posted by: | Jun 07, 2017 08:51

Affordable housing, 40B - all a scam. Why are the trailer parks not counted toward the affordable housing numbers? What about all the inexpensive housing in Wareham as it is? 500 new residents who put down no roots. Traditional housing brings in families that care more. You still need to provide police and education for these 40B folks.

These developments always go downhill in just a few years. Once everyone gets their money we are stuck holding the bag.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 07, 2017 09:54

Gottahaveit, It was good to hear your comment from that perspective.  It was the only one in the string.  We need to be well rounded so your input is appreciated.  Certainly many others feel that way when it comes to this matter.  This is not about wealthy vs. poor.  This is about keeping our town out of the toilet.  Wareham has enough demographic problems.  We are known for it.  Look around! Wareham is trying to clean up and shake that reputation.  Why would we ever put up a welcome sign for more low income?  How counter-intuitive is that?

Posted by: bruce gannon | Jun 07, 2017 11:15

The trailer parks don't count because mobile homes are not considered real estate. It's not a Wareham thing, nothing you can do about it. The state doesn't call them real estate, banks don't consider the trailers as real estate. Unless you change a lot of state and local laws that don't recognize a mobile home as real estate constantly mentioning it is a waste of time. Something else to consider, the town has budget problems, guess what ads to the town tax rolls, NEW DEVELOPMENT. The apartment complex, while not the same as 174 new homes ads to the tax base. I know it's nice to think only criminals live in low income housing. Down sizing retirees live in them, returning discharged military, young families looking to put down roots. Like any fringe group to paint all that fall within the group with the same broad brush is nothing more than bigotry. Aren't we better than that?

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 07, 2017 12:44

Yes we are better than that! Why are these not nice condos filled with people here to enjoy the 54 miles of coastline. Why isn't this a large business that would pay the same in taxes without all the kids to fill up the school? Why is it that we are forced into accepting 60% low income housing units filled with out of towners? Why not 5%? Why not 174 one bedroom units to house those down sizing retirees or discharged military? We are better than that and should fight this type of development each time it comes up tooth and nail.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 07, 2017 12:45

Yes we are better than that! Why are these not nice condos filled with people here to enjoy the 54 miles of coastline. Why isn't this a large business that would pay the same in taxes without all the kids to fill up the school? Why is it that we are forced into accepting 60% low income housing units filled with out of towners? Why not 5%? Why not 174 one bedroom units to house those down sizing retirees or discharged military? We are better than that and should fight this type of development each time it comes up tooth and nail.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 07, 2017 12:51

Bruce, in theory you are correct. I'd agree with and support your ideology if affordable housing in Wareham fit that description.  It doesn't.  To help understand, please take a ride through the Woods of Wareham mid-day on a nice sunny weekday and look for downsizing retirees, returning military, and young families. You will certainly be disappointed.  You will find plenty of able-bodies hanging around when they should be at work like the rest of us.  You will find plenty of baby-mamas pushing their array of children around.  You may find what looks like young families but they are just in there sponging off the system like rest of them.  You will leave feeling as if you just toured an inner city project.  That's affordable housing in Wareham.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 07, 2017 13:35

I'm happy to see I'm not the only arrogant snob that can read through the glimmer, glitter and shiny coating.

Other than slamming us with this big pocket liner, what is Dakota Partners going to contribute to our community ? Build a new school, buy Onset a water tower, build a new police station... Pay half of the bill for the Onset fire palace, Give us something...


Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 07, 2017 14:59

How about an on-site, site specific septic system provided by the developer?


And an impact contribution to the school system? 142 units of the housing are going to be two or more bedrooms. Even at just two children per unit that's 284 children.

Posted by: Hissing Cobra | Jun 07, 2017 16:46

Quick question for the lawmakers of this state and for the people who fight for this kind of thing. Wareham has 17 trailer parks, 8 low income housing developments, numerous motels, and thousands of 1 or 2 bedroom cottages that are being rented out to low income people. How much of this is in the more affluent towns of this state? How many trailer parks are in Wellesley? Sherborn? Cambridge? Marion? Duxbury? Scituate?


This town will never thrive if it doesn't become a community that is well balanced. It needs to become a community that has affluent retirees, middle class, working class, and some low income residents. It will not survive if the majority of the population is in the low income area. Unfortunately, this is how it's been since I moved here in 1990. I've yet to see significant change in this area and our rundown waterfront properties in the downtown district still show this type of mind set. If you don't aim to become better you'll never realize the benefits.


Is it by design that all of this is pushed into to our community? Things that make you go "ummmm".

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 07, 2017 17:16

I agree with hissing cobra, why don't you see these units going up in Rochester, Chatham or Mattapoisett ?

Because they know better, or at least know something we don't.

Why not build this thing up on Bourne hill ? How about all the way down Great Neck road, out beyond sacred heart retreat ? I know why.

There's an old saying from Texas, might be in Tennessee...

You don't poop where you eat. This town is doing lots of pooping lately.

Posted by: greycat | Jun 07, 2017 20:20

What you are seeing is the result of LBJ's GREAT SOCIETY and war on poverty, mixed in with a healthy dose of Fabian Socialism, topped off with cranberry sauce.

Posted by: Just Me1 | Jun 08, 2017 07:52

Perhaps our legislators should consider a special exemption from the 40B rules for Wareham based on many of the reasons that have been cited many times in this discussion and in debates in Town Hall rather than a general change statewide.

Posted by: Fossil | Jun 08, 2017 09:59

Wonderful, worst idea I've heard this month from this town management.

I bought a house here 9 months ago, seem my property values keep going down due to these practices. First of building on Cranberry Hwy in the bad intersection is asking for more accidents and deaths. I'm sorry but low income housing is asking for a ghetto in a few years. Why can't they figure how to build affordable senior citizen housing. Many senior can't afford the assisted living prices , have to give up there savings to live. Low income will bring in more section 8 and if you not building business property, there is not place for these people to work? Lets just build more dumps!!!

Come on Wareham, let's get better than this. Fight the State on this 40B law.Would be better money spent in court.  We don't want it...Build a ice skating arena, a new 10 pin bowling facility. Something better than what will be a total loss to the whole town.


Posted by: Dick Paulsen | Jun 09, 2017 10:35

First of all, the impression one might draw from this set of comments is that Susan Gifford was responsible for not pursuing this in Boston, that is getting legislation passed to count mobile homes in the housing mix as "affordable." She, to her credit, got this through the House.  But in ran into difficulties in the Senate, where our local Senator didn't support the idea.


When I was on the FinCom, and in a brief conversation with him, he suggested that perhaps some sort of ratio of mobile homes might work in some manner. Then I left the FinCom and the idea was never pursued.


Also, when I was on the FinCom, Susan provided me with a list of towns that had large concentrations of mobile homes.  There were about a dozen in all, including Marlborough.  I contacted all of them to see if they would be interested in frorming a group whose sole purpose would be to bring some public and political pressure to bear.  Marlborough responded in the affirmative, but then I left the FinCom, and again, this was not persued. I thought at the time, and still do, that that suggested course of action might be viable, that is, band together with other towns that have the same issue.


My understanding at the same time, and this goes back several years, was that several of the mobile home parks were operating with waivers from the state regarding sewerage.  Whether that is still the case would be a good question to pursue.  If true, it might serve as an argument to slow down further development.  And at the very least, bring the sewerage issue out for further study. With that said, perhaps, in the intervening years, whatever problems existed, may have been rectified.

Posted by: Rosebud | Jun 09, 2017 11:03

There's enough blight in Wareham now. Any way this can be avoided or at least downsized would be great.  Marc Pacheco should spend more time in Wareham, and help address this problem.  I understand housing is expensive, but there has to be an alternative to this kind of project for low income families.  And I agree that we have more than enough mobile home parks that we should be exempt from additional liw-income housing.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 14, 2017 07:49

Dick great comment. Rep. Gifford has fought this every tear that I have known her. Bottom line folks....follow the money, and this is true with 40B, from Developers, construction, labor unions etc, they contribute to the politicians in a big way. In referencing Dicks comments my memory is that the Senate did not want "to open that can of worms. Many of us supported the Bay Pointe project where did that get us? Great tax revenue for the Town, no impact on our schools etc. Rejected!! By the time you write your letters and complain, these folks will be moving in to their apartments. With relaxed Zoning, and paid Mass Land Court appointees, towns don't have a chance to fight these, everything gets rubber stamped and fast tracked for these developers, and if the Zoning Board tries to slow it down, they go to Land Court and the Town gets overridden. The Town can ask for things from the developer but they know they don't have to work with the Town.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 14, 2017 07:55

The reason they don't offer a portion to seniors is because those funds come from another bucket of money. Developers can access those funds however, they make far less money back on a monthly basis, so their rate and speed of return is not typically in their best interest. One idea might be to change the rules, and maybe we would see more of that type of development, in Wareham our need is much greater for affordable senior housing, not just affordable housing, and there is a huge difference between the two.

Posted by: Phredzzz | Jun 14, 2017 16:22

Be CAREFUL and BEWARE East Wareham residents. The Town voters approved a "Hi-Tech Office-Park" bordered by Tihonet Road and Charlotte Furnace Road also known as the BDOD, approximately 14 years ago. The residents and citizens of Wareham were PROMISED this development would not go forward without the Property owners constructing a new access road and system of streets off the end of Route 195. Today, all these years latter, there is NO Access Road and yet our Town Officials have authorized the construction of Non-Compliant Warehouse Style Metal Buildings, and one of these Buildings is also Operating a Retail Business which is a COMPLETE VIOLATION of the Town Warrant originally approved at Town Meeting on or about April 28, 2003. There are many other Problems (Unsafe/Dangerous Traffic issues which the PROMISED NEW Roadways were supposed to eliminate,  Degradation of the quality-of-life for existing residents; some of which have resided and paid Taxes in West Wareham for more than 40 years, and the Short list also includes the Reduction of Value of existing Homes by constructing the equivalent of a Industrial Park in our Front Yards). For some reason our Town Officials seem to turn a Blind Eye to the ongoing SAGA and  have recently approved the construction of another Non-Compliant Facility. When will it all stop ? Who knows, but we think that eventually someone will be pushed past their limit and upset enough to bring Suit against the Town. The Only problem with a Lawsuit; the rest of Wareham's Residents will be responsible for any Court Settlement with increased Taxes to Pay the easily anticipated outcome. So Lessons to be learned East Wareham Residents, STAND STRONG NOW !!!! Once this Proposed Development is Jammed down your throats, it will be Too LATE !

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 14, 2017 17:14

Steve - am I correct in remembering that the original Westfield, age-restricted (senior) housing proposal presented at Town meeting several years ago was for  mixed income tenants with some renting as affordable housing and some at market rate? And that this proposal because of the mixed income aspect and better opportunity for profit, attracted developer interest? And then when brought before Town Meeting the proposal was amended to make the entire development affordable, the result of which was no developer interest?

Posted by: cranapple | Jun 15, 2017 06:08

Build it in W. Wareham

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 15, 2017 07:36

Build it down Dowd ave.

Build it down Greengate lane.

How about Burgess point....

I bet people would fight with vigilance then.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 15, 2017 10:30

The Pied Piper is marching the rats in the wrong direction!  It is beyond all logical thought that Wareham wants more poor, undesirable residents. We have enough!


In many places, affordable housing is utilized by good people such as retirees, military, and young families.  In Wareham, affordable housing is abused by baby-mamas, lazy slobs, gangster-wannabes, and other undesirables.  Look around!


Proof is going on right now on Swifts Beach Road.  Two examples at two different locations where low-income was living.  One is a 40B that has been nothing but trouble and the other is a big shabby rental house frequented by transients.   Now there's crews cleaning up after the animals.  Look for the heaping dumpsters full of filthy stained mattresses and furniture.  Look at the run-down houses.  Look at the messy overgrown yards.  Look at the trash.  I ask again, why would we want more of this element?


Kinda funny, think of this.  When decent respectable people move, they pack and all their nice belongings go into a moving van.  When our typical Warehamy filth moves, someone else gets stuck putting all their nasty belongings into a dumpster.  If you don't believe it, take a ride down Swifts to see for yourself.


Wareham has enough undesirable people.  Lets not attract anymore!

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 15, 2017 14:04

Cranky - We have an affordable housing development in West Wareham. It's called The Village at 815 Main Street. It was built in 2010, and yes, a lot of people protested it's proposal and fought to prevent it. Although they failed to prevent it, their efforts helped to downsize it from the original proposal of 88 units to 49 units on approximately 8 acres.


Not long after The Village at 815 Main Street was fully occupied a gracious young woman working as a teller at Eastern Bank, noted my West Wareham address as she processed my transaction, declared us practically neighbors, told me that she was one of the new residents at 815 Main Street and how happy she was living there.


People who look down upon and negatively characterize  those who live in affordable housing developments need to understand that some vey good people who work 40 or more hours a week, simply don't make enough money to afford "market rate" rent. People also need to understand that every time they post a blanket condemnation of affordable housing tenants, they condemn some very good people.


My Dad used to have a favorite saying, "You can choose your friends, but you can't choose your neighbors." No neighborhood is immune to problems, some of the "nicest" streets can have a residence located within them from which problems arise. People don't look down upon or condemn the residents of those streets because they have a problematic household living among them. They don't judge or label all the residents of those streets based upon the problem living among them.


Years ago, my husband and I were asked to join the battle against the 815 Main Street affordable housing development. We declined for a number of reasons, chief among them, the fact that during 36 years of employment as a veterinary office manager in the Boston area , followed by a number of years working locally in retail, I worked with countless, decent, hard-working people, who because of their pay scale,  desperately needed and constantly hoped for availability of affordable housing.


For more on The Village at 815 Main Street:

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 15, 2017 14:50

Andrea, it is unfortunate that the good ones must contend with the bad ones.  It makes it harder for the good, hard working people.  I get it.  I happen to have a friend that lives in the Woods of Wareham because that is all she can afford.  She is just as harsh as I am regarding the undesirable element in there.  The baby-mamas, lazy slobs, gangster-wannabes, and other undesirables make it really hard for her and her family.


One bad apple doesn't necessarily spoil the whole bunch as your scenario depicts.  However if  half of them are bad the whole bunch will certainly be compromised.  That's the concern.


I do like the downsizing concept but would rather none at all.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 15, 2017 17:19

I'm just dropping in to say, I'm not against the people as much as I am opposing the project.

I agree Andra, there are boat loads of people who need a helping hand here and there... My wife and myself included. I'm reading through this project proposal and I'm seeing that the project isn't about 40B in it's entirety, it's actually becoming quite clear that the 40B is a shroud that Dakota Partners is hiding behind.

" The plan is to rent 60% at affordable rates and 40% at market rate. "

Well, market rate for some homes in Onset can go anywhere from $1200 per month to $2000 per week depending on location and time of year, so what's their basis ?

I lived at Woods of Wareham for a couple of years when I first met my wife. We paid full rate based off our combined income, and I can't tell you how annoying it was to work hard all day and come home to the same riff-raff every night. Plenty of able bodies doing next to nothing yet driving new cars and wearing flashy clothes... Just banking on that 1st and 15th to come... And that phenom called unearned income credit.

I can see this project is headed in that direction shortly.

Someone tried to explain to me the reason why other towns like Marion, Chatham and even Carver don't get flooded with these similar projects... I just couldn't grasp that concept. Maybe someone could dumb it down for me.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 16, 2017 11:11

Cranky - Marion has a recently constructed affordable housing development with 60 apartments, all occupied and 36 stand alone homes currently in varying stages of construction. The town fought the construction of the development for years, my guess is at considerable cost to town coffers. Originally proposed at close to 200 units, the legal battle essentially cut the number of units constructed in half.


The above information is based upon personal knowledge combined with online research to confirm statistics quoted.


As for Carver, Chatham, and any other towns some people may wish to declare don't have affordable housing developments, perhaps some online research, or a call to the local town hall would be a good idea before posting the declaration.










Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 16, 2017 17:30

About Affordable Housing In Chatham

There are 2 low income housing apartment complexes which contain 94 subsidized apartments for rent in Chatham, Massachusetts. Many of these rental apartments are income based housing with about 0 apartments that set rent based on your income. Often referred to as "HUD apartments", there are 0 Project-Based Section 8 subsidized apartments in Chatham. There are 94 other low income apartments that don't have rental assistance but are still considered to be affordable housing for low income families.

Fair Market Rents are used to establish the payment standards for the Section 8 Housing Choice Voucher Program. In Chatham, the fair market rents range from $845 to $1,709. To learn more about rents for low income apartments in Chatham read the Fair Market Rents section of the Understanding Affordable Housing in Chatham guide.

Posted by: Archangel | Jun 16, 2017 20:59

Every one of you must know that these 40b developments will continue to run over the town until the town gets to the 10% threshold .Get to the 10% threshold and your able to tell the developers to go pound sand. Get on our local officials, including Pacheco and Gifford, to get a friendly 40b project that gets us to the 10% threshold (A mixed income development for the elderly that contains apartments for those having incomes between 30 and 80 percent of median income). Trailers will never be considered affordable housing for reasons that have been explained in detail here before. It's pretty simple. Here's a list of people that could get this done.

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