Proposed Depot Street housing project receives warm reception

By Matthew Bernat | Jun 20, 2017
Photo by: Matthew Bernat Anthi Frangiadis takes a seat before discussing a proposed affordable housing project with Selectmen on Tuesday night.

Selectmen voiced support for a small affordable housing project proposed for 20 Depot St., located across from the former East Wareham School.

The proposal calls for demolishing a single-family home on the lot and constructing three buildings with two apartment units each in its place. It received unanimous approval from the board’s five members Tuesday night, but an official vote was not taken. Selectmen said they wanted to see a complete proposal before making a decision.

However, the initial plan seemed promising.

“I love the idea,” said Selectman Patrick Tropeano. “It helps with our affordable housing percentage in town and fits in with the neighborhood.”

Tropeano did say he would not approve using money from the town’s Affordable Housing Trust or Community Preservation Act funds to help pay for the project.

Proposed by property owner Steve Bushman, the project is being designed by architect Anthi Frangiadis of Anthi Frangiadis Associates with site work being done by Brian Grady of GAF Engineering. Dean Harrison is providing assistance with securing necessary permits from the state regarding the project’s affordable housing status.

Harrison said he hasn’t approached the Department of Housing and Community Development yet, opting to wait for the board’s reaction.

Frangiadis said with the board’s blessing, the next step would be to apply for the state’s Local Initiative Program. A state program, it encourages the creation of affordable housing by providing technical assistance to developers working to create affordable rental opportunities.

Frangiadis said preference would be given to renters who are veterans, adding that state vouchers may be available to help make the apartments affordable.

The proposal marks the third time housing for low income individuals has been in the news recently, remarked Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum.

"This seems to be affordable housing week in Wareham,” he said.

The day before, officials celebrated the opening of a six-unit apartment complex designed to provide housing for homeless individuals on Pumpkin Town Road.

Last week, Selectmen issued a letter decrying a massive affordable housing complex proposed for Cranberry Highway. In the letter, Selectmen took issue with a myriad of problems they said the project may bring, including strains on infrastructure, police, fire and the schools.

Comments (12)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 20, 2017 22:51

Small is better.  I agree.  This one is a lot better than that other massive welfare housing project being proposed.  A few wasps are much better than a whole hive.  It is good that the affordable housing continues being proposed in East Wareham.  Can't see it from my house.  Lol

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 21, 2017 07:33

What do projects like this do to the property values of the surrounding homes ? I know the impact isn't as big as the monster project they want to build on 28, but does it reflect a variation in the value at all ?

It's looking like it's hard to get your project shot down if you're friendly with the right people.

Posted by: Spherebreaker | Jun 21, 2017 07:47

Ahhhhh, I dream of the day that I read that a large subdivision of multi million dollar homes was approved in Wareham. A subdivision that gives the Town lots of revenue with little impact on existing services. A subdivision that would increase the property values so much that 40B out of town leach like developers would need to look elsewhere for land to line their pockets at the expense of the Town and its people.   

Posted by: WWreader | Jun 21, 2017 07:52

"A few wasps are much better than a whole hive"?? Really? You are calling US veterans wasps? You will hardly see this property from the street. It will give preference to people who served our country but need affordable housing. Try a little compassion instead of the usual nasty comments about the needy. I for one support our veterans and think this project is worthy of our town.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 21, 2017 08:41

CAREFUL the word used was preference. NOT that they would rent to Veterans. I have had people sit at that table for 6 years and use the word preference, then once they get their money and permits, they claim no one of preference applied, or they did not qualify. Here's a thought on the large development, get in touch with Rep Keating, have him use his power in Washington and make the large development 70 % Veterans. There would be less impact on schools, and hardly no impact on police as they would take care of their own. We have too many living under bridges, and in the woods. And this would be supported by our new VA Secretary and Pres Trump.

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Jun 21, 2017 08:43

No, WBTS was referring to "affordable" housing units.  Veterans were only mentioned by the architect as a way to engender public support for the project.  Note that the apartments will only be affordable if the renters qualify for state vouchers which "may" be available.

Posted by: Steve Holmes | Jun 21, 2017 08:50

Patrick hold your ground on this, and I hope you get support, if they don't have the money now to pay for the project, they are already looking to line their pockets monthly with State funds. Who is going to maintain it in a few years?. If they want to come back and make this a Veterans only site, I am sure you would be flexible, our Vets deserve something after laying it on the line for us. Getting to the 10% is a fantasy, Patrick gets that, we could build a bunch of these as warned for many years by Bruce RIP, and never get to the limit.

Posted by: sadie | Jun 21, 2017 09:46

CP has money set aside for affordable housing why can't it be used for this project. I think I remember 2 other developers that wanted to renovate blighted homes in Onset for affordable housing and wanted money from CP which was vetoed at town meeting.

Does anyone remember ANY affordable housing in Wareham that was approved to use CP money?


Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Jun 21, 2017 09:52

I would never say anything negative about veterans.  I am sorry for the misunderstanding.  Society explained my intent correctly, thank you!  I welcome veteran housing with open arms.  I also welcome senior housing and housing for good hard working families.  However I am quite jaded and opinionated when it comes to the lazy system abusers that plague any and all affordable housing in this town.  Take today for example.  Try taking a ride through the Woods of Wareham.  You'll soon realize what affordable housing looks like around here.  Unfortunately it makes it really hard for the veterans, seniors, and those truly deserving of it.  Once again, sorry for the misunderstanding.

Posted by: Andrea Smith | Jun 21, 2017 11:20

Regarding Cranky’s question, “What do projects like this do to the property values of the surrounding homes?” Below are some suggested websites which offer research based answers. All of the websites were found through an online search for "effect of affordable housing on property values.

Posted by: cranky pants | Jun 21, 2017 13:10

To answer my own question ( thanks to the links provided ) it's a maybe. Maybe not in a direct way, but yes it is a high probability that values will decrease.

Posted by: WWreader | Jun 21, 2017 15:27

Steve, we appreciate your vast experience listening to people make false promises at that BOS table, and Society, you say the architect only said veterans to get support from the BOS. The architect in question has worked tirelessly for the town for many years working with nonprofits as an architect to keep costs low for them. She also served for years on town boards. Many of you have a lot to say but how many watched the meeting on tv? You would have learned that the person building the apartments lives a few houses up on the same street and has already built one similar house on Depot street. Since he will be a neighbor, he can be better able to observe the property daily. In addition, he is the one who wants to serve the veterans. The architect did most of the talking so she relayed that information. So let's see, a small housing unit, owner lives practically next door, can't be seen from the street and the driveway will be on Tyler, the owner prefers veterans in need, and if the housing values go down, the owner will feel that for his own house. Yeah, I can see why this has gotten so many people riled up.

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