Wareham wants mobile homes counted as affordable (yet again)

By Matthew Bernat | Oct 24, 2017

When it comes to counting mobile homes as affordable housing, Wareham voters are refusing to give up.

On Monday, voters at Town Meeting gave Selectmen approval to petition state lawmakers and address a long-held complaint local officials have with Chapter 40B, the state’s affordable housing law. The proposal is identical to one voters have approved the past two years.

Chapter 40B lets developers with projects that include low-cost units to avoid some zoning requirements. But only when affordable housing accounts for less than 10 percent of total homes in a town.

Right now, the number of affordable homes in Wareham is 8 percent, but mobile homes are not being taken into account. If the request is approved, that number would climb above the 10 percent threshold.

Until that happens, large affordable housing projects, such as one, 174-unit project proposed for 3102 Cranberry Highway, will continue to be able to skirt local zoning laws due to Chapter 40B. Unveiled in June, the project has drawn criticism from Selectmen who say town services and infrastructure will be taxed if its built.

With Town Meeting's approval, the request will be sent to the Joint Committee on Housing for a public hearing. It will either be recommended for approval, recommended to not be approved or sent to committee for study.

Past efforts to get approval did not go well, said Board of Selectmen Chair Peter Teitelbaum

“We keep testifying before the committee on housing and it keeps dying there,” he said.


Comments (7)
Posted by: bob | Oct 24, 2017 07:08

Fat chance that this will ever get the past the committee ,with representers like Pacheco...

Posted by: Society for Suppression of Noise | Oct 24, 2017 10:36

Bob's right.  Enough with the hat-in-hand petitioning and wishful thinking.  Time to get lawyers involved.

Posted by: baron1701@yahoo.com | Oct 24, 2017 15:41

This is a very big issue and Im glad that there is a positive step here. I hope that this goes though committee hearings and all that red tape soon. If this had gone through a few years ago it would have made a big difference.

Posted by: brazz | Oct 25, 2017 19:39

" proposal is identical" Did we learn nothing from the previous denials? Add some fancy words? Maybe put a little more effort.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 26, 2017 14:23

We are refusing to give up due to the lack of commonsense in this matter.  I know there are a bunch of overly bureaucratic reasons why they say mobile homes can't be considered affordable.  That's all a bunch of crap.  How can a metal box that sells for $30K not be considered affordable when one can't touch a 2 bedroom shack for less that $200K around here?


It's rather ironic that one of the most Warehamy things about Wareham is shooting us straight in the foot!  There isn't a person with a pulse within 50 miles of here that doesn't associate Wareham with trailer parks and the trailer park trash that tend to live in them.  Unfortunately the nice "mobile home parks" for seniors are hidden, while the hideous trailer parks are in plain view.  Do not disagree or I will pay for your eye tests!  One example: Across from Water Wizz is of the most depressing, dilapidated looking trailer parks.  The trailers themselves, the residents, the cars, and the landscape are shabby and look like hell.  Thousands of people visit Water Wizz see that hell hole and associate it with Wareham.  Considering trailers affordable would at least lessen the burden associated with the stigma of being the trailer park capital of the South Coast.


In closing I must reiterate the fact that unfortunately the many nice "mobile home parks" for seniors are hidden.  I feel bad for the people living in those because they get dragged down due to association with the Warehamy Trailer Parks.  I do not mean to offend anyone living in a nice mobile home park for seniors.

Posted by: Doctor Deekas | Oct 26, 2017 14:49

WBTS you are confusing affordable housing with 'cheap' housing. Because a mobile home sells for $60K or an Onset cottage sells for $90K does not allow the Town to make it affordable housing. The 'affordability' of the housing is that someone that is under the median income is the owner of the house and that the house has a deed-restriction to remain 'affordable'. Without documentation of income of the people that own the mobile homes, you cannot just call them 'affordable units'. Secondly, how do you deed-restrict a mobile home when they don't own the land under them? These have been the pitfalls of our Town's pursuit to make them affordable. You just want to call them affordable because of their apparent condition and the condition of the residents that occupy them. I am not disagreeing that they shouldn't be affordable, I have railed for it on these forums. BUT, Wareham isn't going to do it with the current angle, and team of Gifford and Pacheco. In fact, Pacheco has one of the biggest mobile home park/land-owners in MA living right in Taunton with him, and there's no way he is going to give up the power that mobile home park owners have across the State.

Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Oct 26, 2017 15:05

Doc, thanks for the explanation.  The info about documentation and deed-restrictions does have some merit.  However, the personal interest of our politicians is frustrating.

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