Wareham officials and residents demand action against proposed affordable housing project

By Matthew Bernat | Feb 28, 2018
Matthew Bernat Plans for a large affordable housing project slated for East Wareham call for building 174 units.

Residents against a 174-unit affordable housing complex proposed for East Wareham packed a Zoning Board of Appeals hearing Wednesday and urged officials to fight the project.

Nearly 40 people arrived for the hearing, which triggered a 180-day deadline for officials to rule on the project, slated for 3102 Cranberry Highway, near the Red Brook Road intersection.

Unveiled in June by Waltham-based developer Dakota Partners, the project, dubbed Woodland Cove, calls for constructing six, three- and four-story buildings on an 8.6-acre site. Plans include an open space area in the center of the complex with an adjacent playground, community center and 260 parking spaces. Of the 174 units, 106 will be classified as affordable under state guidelines.

Residents learned that the state’s affordable housing law, known as Chapter 40B, will likely compel board members to approve construction or face legal action.

“As a board we probably cannot stop this project,” said James Eacobacci. “We can only mitigate its impact on the town.”

Under 40B, local zoning regulations are relaxed for affordable housing projects in towns where less than 10 percent of homes or apartments are considered affordable. In Wareham, 7.7 percent of residences are affordable. Officials estimate that if the project were built it would add roughly 2 percent to the amount of affordable housing in town.

While officials likely can’t nix the project, they can require the developer to study its potential impacts on infrastructure and then take steps to lessen those impacts.

Members voted to have Dakota Partners fund a study that would examine how the project will affect water and sewer use. Specifically, members want to see if Wareham’s sewage treatment plant will have the capacity to accommodate the project. Under state law, the developer’s study is subject to review from an independent third party.

Many residents and a handful of officials from other boards, including the Onset Water Department, opposed the project. Among them was Board of Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum. Last week, Selectmen approved a letter calling on the Zoning Board to study impacts the project would have on a myriad of town services. Those services include: Wareham Public Schools, the Wareham Police Department, the Wareham and Onset Fire Departments, the Wareham Department of Natural Resources (Animal Control Division) and the Massachusetts Department of Transportation – due to the project’s location on Cranberry Highway, a state road.

“I cannot overstate the Board of Selectmen’s level of concern over the potential impacts that the size, scope and location of the project proposed would have upon public services and infrastructure,” said Teitelbaum.

Residents at the meeting echoed those concerns.

“It will drain our services,” said Lucille Dodson, who lives near the project site. “Put all the restrictions possible into place. At the very, very least, this is not the right location.”

According to a consultant hired by the Zoning Board to navigate the process, members are limited by state law to studying impacts on infrastructure and not the other town services listed by Selectmen.

Attorney Peter Freeman, who is representing Dakota Partners, said his client is prepared to meet the board’s demands during the application process.

“We want to be as cooperative as we can,” said Freeman.

The Zoning Board continued the public hearing to March 21 at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Service Center.

Approximately 40 people packed into the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting on Wednesday where a affordable housing project was discussed. (Photo by: Matthew Bernat)
Comments (11)
Posted by: TOOTTOOT1 | Mar 01, 2018 10:33

That thing scares me. It would be an add'l load on our infrastructure, who pays for the required upgrades, let me guess "TAX PAYERS"



Posted by: rhbinma | Mar 01, 2018 10:48

Dont forget the traffic study

 



Posted by: Peter W. Teitelbaum | Mar 01, 2018 12:21

At the hearing, the developers claimed that they had performed a traffic study, and also that they had in fact been in touch with MassDOT officials regarding their plans via discussions surrounding land takings.

 

The ZBA will review the traffic study if and when it is provided, and will make determinations about its sufficiency.  I have asked Selectman Slavin to follow up with his contacts within MassDOT regarding Dakota Partners' statement that they had discussed the project with the state during the takings process.

 

While I'm here, I'd like to thank everyone who came last night.  I hope to see all of you - and more - at the continued hearing on March 21st.



Posted by: Uptohere | Mar 01, 2018 14:02

well be sure to write thank you letters to Marc Pacheco. He vetoed mobiles becoming low income and is behind 40b coming to town. So please write him and let him know how great this isn't going to be for our town.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2018 18:54

Even without the trailers being considered affordable, it is hard to believe that only 7.7% of Wareham's residences are affordable.  We have small inexpensive one and two bedroom houses (cottages) everywhere.   We have neighborhoods full of modest ranches.  How can only 7.7% be affordable?  I can't think of any other town that has as many small and modest homes.  If Wareham isn't considered affordable, what towns are?



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 01, 2018 19:44

I’d be willing to bet that the 7.7% figure is a BS number. The Statehouse just want to install ready made votes fr the dem party. Wareham is not democrat for their liking and are doing their dirty little deed by falsifying numbers and refusing to consider the trailers affordable. The are pushing these low income projects so they can send in their wretched minions to vote for their slimy butts. Pacheco is The type I’m talking about.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 01, 2018 19:47

And Dakota is their slimy tool to do the dirty work at a nice profit after the secret handshake in the back room



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Mar 01, 2018 20:58

Is the data and methodology used to determine the 7.7% figure public knowledge?

 

If info from Wareham's Assessors Data base can exported into an Excel Spreadsheet it wouldn't be too hard to analyze.



Posted by: OnsetTogether | Mar 02, 2018 00:02

Null



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 02, 2018 08:12

I hope that if this is built that they are required to pay the betterment costs a new homeowner would need to pay if they built in a sewered area and had not paid betterment yet on lot. I think that cost would be in the $19000 range. These apartments will hold just as many people as a single family home and should be paying the same per unit. If its fair for single family homes then it needs to be same for apartments. None of this BS mitigation negotiations crap. Funds go to sewer fund period



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Mar 02, 2018 08:13

I hope that if this is built that they are required to pay the betterment costs a new homeowner would need to pay if they built in a sewered area and had not paid betterment yet on lot. I think that cost would be in the $19000 range. These apartments will hold just as many people as a single family home and should be paying the same per unit. If its fair for single family homes then it needs to be same for apartments. None of this BS mitigation negotiations crap. Funds go to sewer fund period



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