Dozens voice opposition to proposed affordable housing development

By Lydia Goerner | Jun 13, 2017
Photo by: Lydia Goerner Lucille Dodson reads a letter to the Board of Selectmen detailing her concerns about the housing development.

“How many people are here to speak about the proposed 40B project?” asked Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum at Tuesday’s meeting.

Several dozen hands went up.

“Is there anybody here in favor of this project?” Teitelbaum followed up.

The packed room was still.

Within the next few days, Teitelbaum will be submitting a letter to the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development based on comments he received at the meeting.

Many people addressed the board with their concerns about the project, which would build a 174-unit affordable housing development at 3102 Cranberry Highway in East Wareham.

One passionate community member was Lucille Dodson, who read a letter stating problems she sees with the project proposed by Dakota Partners.

Dodson said the housing development would lead to an even more congested intersection of Red Brook Road. Dodson suffered a concussion after a car accident in that intersection and was concerned that increased traffic would cause a similar situation for others.

Peter Acciavatti agreed and added traffic is already “ridiculous” at the intersection.

“It looks like Las Vegas,” Acciavatti said.

Dodson also said the development, which would have 32 one-bedroom, 122 two-bedroom and 20 three-bedroom apartments, will be a strain on the sewage treatment plant, the fire and police departments and the schools.

“I am not going to see our neighborhood and our town go backwards,” Dodson said.

Another issue raised was the infrastructure in Wareham, which resident Debbie Ito said she believes is not equipped to handle an influx of people.

“This neighborhood was built as a vacation neighborhood, not with a population increase in mind,” Ito said. The demand on the town's infrastructure would make the housing development unsustainable, Ito said.

Under state law Chapter 40B, zoning regulations are relaxed for developers in towns where less than 10 percent of housing stock is considered affordable. Currently, Wareham has 7.7 percent affordable housing, according to Teitelbaum. This housing development would add roughly 2 percent more.

Some people who spoke at the meeting said Wareham is already doing enough to provide affordable housing in the community.

“We should let the other towns catch up to us,” said Gordon Foote. “We’ve done a fine job.”

Teitelbaum added Wareham could be asked to have more than 10 percent affordable housing once it reaches this point to make up for other towns in the area that offer very few affordable options.

Others cited potential increases in drug activity and crime in the area. Some were concerned that the housing built will not be a pleasant place to live.

“This isn’t housing,” said Wareham resident Monica Montgomery. “It’s warehousing.”

The Selectmen voted on each item that would be put in the letter to the housing department this week. Items in the final letter to the state include the history of similar projects in Wareham, the size of the project, the financial impact on taxpayers and the town’s feeling of inadequate recognition for its existing affordable housing options.

Selectman Alan Slavin said the town does not have the ability to say no directly to the developers. He said sending this letter saying “we’re not going to have skin in the game” might be the most effective measure.

Dodson said she plans to protest the project and hopes to form a committee to educate people about its shortcomings.

“If you’re against the project, be a voice,” Dodson said. “Wareham is the gateway to Cape Cod, not the armpit.” Dodson said she plans to attend every meeting on the matter.

Once the town sends the letter, the 30-day comment letter phase will be over. The state will consider the comments made by the board and whether to issue a project eligibility letter to allow the developer to move forward to the Zoning Board of Appeals application.

Teitelbaum said since the state likes to see that projects have local support, they may reconsider if they should issue the project eligibility letter since the town has so many concerns.

The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously to send the letter with the concerns discussed to the state.

The full letter to the Department of Housing and Community Development will be posted on the town’s website at www.wareham.ma.us.

Comments (16)
Posted by: totellthetruth | Jun 14, 2017 08:10

No one mentioned the close proximity to the Onset Water dep't wellfields. This is a critical area. Runoff from the parking area could run down to the recharge area and pollute our precious drinking water.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 14, 2017 11:12

Truth, Runoff in the well field really shouldn't be a problem. They will just get the Onset ratepayers to build a $17 million treatment plant like they did in Wareham. Why on earth would they ever go after the developer or business now that they set precedence that polluting drinking wells is OK and cleanup is paid for by the Ratepayers.



Posted by: Rosebud | Jun 14, 2017 13:03

I was unable to attend the meeting, however I am opposed to this project.  That being said, Wareham should go back to square one and review and revise our zoning laws before another such project rears its ugly head.



Posted by: Uptohere | Jun 14, 2017 15:26

It's past time to be proactive in protecting OUR town the same way other towns have protected theirs. 28 in East Wareham should have been the start of curtailing the unappealing look way back when the stop and shop mall was put in. And now it's happening in West Wareham. But if we stop dragging our ...feet... Maybe we can still salvage it. I'm all for revitalizing our town but we need business not a warehouse for people.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 14, 2017 15:28

Until Wareham reaches the required number of affordable housing units (I think its 10% of total housing stock), affordable housing developments that are proposed do not have to comply with local density zoning laws. Revising zoning laws won't help to avoid the issue.

Being proactive as a town, encouraging affordable housing developments that would have low impact upon town services, such as affordable senior housing (no additional children for school system) would by law for a specified period of years (can't remember the number) protect the town from having affordable developments such as the one now proposed forced upon the town.



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

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 later, 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 an 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: cranapple | Jun 15, 2017 05:56

Are the people voting for this residents of this town?! Very sure they live in neighboring towns that give our town a bad rep an want see things get worse to elevate themselves. I am flabbergasted. Where is Mattapoisett and Rochester's 10% affordable housing? As east Wareham is working to be revitalized they look to ruin it. It would be better for us and local towns to put in luxury housing with some affordable units then we can attract higher earners and bring more money and business to the town. Moving forward with this plan will be bad for our town and neighboring towns.



Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 15, 2017 07:27

The scam of all scams...

I can't wait to see what this would do to our property values.... Actually with any luck I won't be around to see what happens because I'm actively searching for a new town to reside in.

Between the thugs on the streets and the thugs who stack meetings, this town it's going straight into the toilet.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 15, 2017 10:28

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: Uptohere | Jun 15, 2017 10:28

Having recently attended a meeting at our townhall on a building matter I can say 1 of the biggest issuses with things going through is a lack of people actually going to heard ...in person... Instead of just in comments or on Facebook.  I also recall reading about the buildings on Charlotte Furnace road and that it is a commercial zoned area. And that less then 5 people showed up for that meeting. It's great to bring awareness to any issue but if people don't put their physical presence behind their words then we get what we get.



Posted by: Mike | Jun 15, 2017 15:57

It sounds like a lot of the same people that are opposed to this subdivision are the same people who went to the Onset Fire District meeting, if the planning board has notified the Onset Fire and water department it will be interesting to see what they have to say about this subdivision now that they know what the people of their district are thinking. Typically they do nothing on the district's behalf. It has been in the passed politically safer for them to do nothing and let the taxpayers. pay for it afterwards. Call your prudential committee And water commission members and ask for their support and remember their answer next anual meeting!



Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Jun 15, 2017 19:15

Below is the link to the letter sent today to the Massachusetts Dept. of Housing and Community Development regarding the proposed Woodland Cove affordable housing development.  I apologize for the extraneous "Board" in the first sentence and the repetitive information in section d) that I missed removing while doing a cut and paste:

 

http://www.wareham.ma.us/home/news/woodland-cove-40b-project-letter



Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jun 15, 2017 21:34

Well done, Sir.



Posted by: Phredzzz | Jun 16, 2017 07:57

Re; UPTOHERE I agree 100% with you, but also one needs to place the responsibility exactly where it belongs. When asked why people do not show up for regular Planning and Zoning meetings, most citizens respond, that is why we have municipal Boards. Those individuals on the Boards are supposed to be watching out for the best interests of the community and taxpayers. By having these individuals representing the citizenry,  there is a supposition that each and every Taxpayer is not needed to attend. However, there is always some need for oversight. the BDOD issues are a perfect example. You mention that area is commercially zoned, but the truth is, the BDOD was never legally Zoned for Commercial activity. It was approved by Town warrant as a "Hi-Tech Office Park with Campus Style Configuration.  What happened between the voters approval and today's activities is a mystery. According to State Law, it would take a public forum and  appropriate voting by the public to change the status of that Property.



Posted by: Uptohere | Jun 16, 2017 10:38

Everyone should take the time to read the boards letter. It sounded very articulate and well expressed. And with all the non storm outages lately from either old transformers or over taxed utilities it, I'm concerned with summer coming how many more will fail.



Posted by: Snowman | Jun 17, 2017 10:01

Mr. Teitelbaum,

 

Thank you and the BOS for putting forth this well crafted Letter of Concern and Opposition.

May I add that not only would this project lead to the stated problems with the influx of hundreds of people, it will have a multiplied impact due to causing families who do own homes in the area, shop in the stores, and travel the highway to leave before their property values and quality of life are seriously degraded.



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