Wareham Zoning Board to review 174-unit housing project's impact on water, sewer

By Matthew Bernat | Apr 25, 2018
The Wareham Zoning Board of Appeals is currently reviewing a permit application for 174-unit housing project proposed for East Wareham.

Wareham water and sewer officials will determine if there is enough capacity to accommodate a controversial 174-unit affordable housing project proposed for East Wareham.

On Wednesday, Zoning Board of Appeals members, who are now overseeing the project’s permit approval process, made the request from representatives for the developer.

“If [water and sewer officials] say we don’t have enough water, and they can back it up with an engineer, I’m not going to waste your time,” Zoning Board Chair Nazih Elkallassi told attorney Peter Freeman, representing the developer.

The project was announced in June by Waltham-based developer Dakota Partners. Plans call for constructing six, three- and four-story buildings along with a community building, open space area and parking. The project is slated for 3102 Cranberry Highway, near the Red Brook Road intersection.

Dubbed Woodland Cove, the development will include 106 apartments that are designated as affordable. Rents for those apartments must not exceed state guidelines based upon a renter's income.

Under Chapter 40B, a state law, zoning regulations are relaxed for developers 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.

Because Woodland Cove is proposed under 40B, officials have little recourse to deny it a permit. However, they are working to mitigate any issues that may arise if it’s built. That includes determining the impact on the town’s sewer and water systems.

Following Wednesday’s hearing, Dakota Partners will provided additional information to the Onset Water Department, including the estimated average daily water use and maximum daily water use, to help them make that determination. There’s a chance the zoning board could successfully deny a permit if there’s not enough capacity. However, Freeman said he would be prepared to challenge that decision.

During the public hearing, zoning board members also learned that if the project is built it could significantly alleviate Wareham’s affordable housing shortage by imposing a local preference stipulation.

Bill Lockwood, a past chair of the Wareham Housing Authority, said there are 850 people waiting for a chance to move into affordable apartments owned by the authority. He said the wait for veterans is roughly two years and up to 14 years for disabled residents.

Paul Haverty, a consultant hired to assist the zoning board, recommended that information be submitted officially. That would demonstrate a need to state officials to enforce local preference, which could be up to 70 percent of the units in the complex.

“The state will want the town to show the need for a local preference,” said Haverty. “This would be very good evidence to include.”

The public hearing will continue on May 9 at 6:30 p.m. in the Multi-Service Center.

Comments (39)
Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2018 08:01

110 gallons per day per person is what I was taught in my water and wastewater treatment related classes and training. That sounds like a lot because it includes laundry, dishwashing, and all the other cumulative consumption in addition to showers, toilet flushing, etc.  That value may have been reduced a bit nowadays due to lower consumption fixtures.

 

Big question: will they end up just reducing the number of units to meet the available water/sewer?  Mitigation is typical.  So instead of 174 units, we will still get 150 or 140 forced upon us?  That's not necessary any better!



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 26, 2018 08:06

There is not enough sewer capacity. Most of these folks will be home all day eating SNAP food. The sewage output of these units will be double that of people that are working to pay for the subsidies to house and feed the slackers.



Posted by: WWareham resident | Apr 26, 2018 09:16

SPHEREBREAKER with the absence of a like button I could not agree with you more.

This housing unit is going to stretch the capabilities of every town department, sewer, police, EMS etc... It's enough already  we're surrounded by 40B housing and town leadership could care less about it.

What is this arbitrary % of 40B towns need to meet? Send Dakota Partners over to Rochester or Marion we shouldn't have this garbage forced down our throat.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2018 09:31

Sphere - please enlighten me on the acronym SNAP.  I can only imagine...



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 26, 2018 10:58

Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program   aka the cart in front of you at the grocery store loaded down with the name brand stuff while you carry your basket of a few store brands.  Pajama pants are a dead give away



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2018 11:12

Thanks, say no more!  I see it all the time.  I enjoy watching them argue with the cashier when limits and restrictions are met.  Being one lobster over the limit really sets them off...

 

This new Woods at Brandy Hill project just makes no sense.  Haven't the people of Wareham learned the hard way already?



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 26, 2018 13:45

so once again the ugly heads of bigots arise... I know it's popular to characterize residents of "affordable housing" as lazy SNAP recipients but it's not necessarily true. Seniors, the handicapped, recently separated military, young working people just getting started. I can't help but think that if this was just a 174 unit luxury apartment complex if the outrage would be so loud.

 



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2018 16:10

Bruce - Isn't it unfortunate that the lazy SNAP recipients ruin it for the Seniors, the handicapped, recently separated military, and the young working people just getting started.  That's the issue. Nothing to do with bigotry.

 

 



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 26, 2018 19:52

well no, the problem isn't the lazy SNAP recipients ruining anything, the problem is the bigots painting everyone with one broad brush ... and if statistics are of any use to you, fraud as it relates to SNAP and other public assistance programs accounts for about 2 percent of the over all budget so you chose to denigrate the whole for the sins of the few.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 26, 2018 21:20

That 2 percent stat is likely State wide with a higher concentration in certain places like Wareham, Brockton, Chicopee, Ware, Lowell, etc.

 

Sorry we digressed, a giant 174 unit complex is just too much.  It doesn't matter who is going to live there when it comes to the demand it will place on Wareham's resources.

 

Maybe if they weren't building that other massive apartment building next to the Marriott there would be be more resources available.  How many people are going to live in that one?



Posted by: Lucille Dodson | Apr 27, 2018 07:29

To respond to the above comments, First know, most if not all Town Officials are against this proposed Development..... it is a 40B which can be shoved down our throats due to the State Law about 40 B’s even though all the Selectman etc are against it...... in fact, the Selectman, Town Administrate and others care very much about our Community and are deeply worried about the strains to Schools, Sewer, Water, Fire, Police etc...should this Development move forward...... I urge all Citizens to come to the Zoning Board of Appeals Meeting held second and fourth Wednesday at 6:30 at the Multi Service Building Room 320.... there is a time at the meetings to voice Citizens Concerns and that includes the change to make your voice heard.... Where are all the concerned parents who are worried about what is going on with the Schools ????   They need to attend these meetings.... what is going to happen should this Development go forward, it will bring along with it, 400 plus more kids who need to be educated in the Wareham Schools !!!!    Please tell your neighbors and friends to start coming to these meetings..... this Development will forever change our Community and Landscape.



Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 27, 2018 12:53

Unfortunately i haven' been able to physically attend these meetings but i have sent messages by way of the town hall to board to voice my opinion. If you cant attend then please use this option to make yourself be heard.

This project, and that' exactly what it will become, is in the wrong area and will totally destroy an all ready overburdend situation. Instead of being named woodland cove it should be renamed greedy pit. Move the location and change it to senior housing.



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 27, 2018 13:58

ooh the "project" and that's just what it will become .. another dog whistle to the bigots in town .. the beauty of this area isn't destroyed by apartment complexes it's destroyed by the attitudes of it's people. that plaque on the Statue of Liberty .. give us your tired, your poor .. you know that one .. doesn't stop at Ellis Island

 



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 27, 2018 14:25

Living in that PROJECT has nothing to do with Ellis Island. 40B and its promoters is what destroys the beauty of this area. It also destroys the schools, the community, the economy and so much more.



Posted by: OnsetTogether | Apr 27, 2018 17:02

A few big picture views:

  • thank you to Bill Lockwood for pointing out the very long wait list for veteran, handicap and low income housing. Local preference is a great concept, but can those folks afford the HUD rates for Wareham? The 2018 rate is $ 1740 for a 2 bedroom unit. Add in last month and security deposit and it’s not so affordable.  Unless we convince the Feds to take us out of the Boston catchment it won’t help. No commuter rail? No high rents.
  • Can the Wareham ZBA act on behalf of the Onset Fire and Water Departments and bind them to a permit?
  • Do the ratepayers in Onset want to fund a groundbreaking legal case on their own?
  • Can Dakota be compelled to fund a large sewer project, or require a private septic there?
  • The citizens of Yarmouth hired an attorney to greatly reduce the size of Dakota’s project there. Anyone here going to pony up?
  • I’m told in past years CEDA housing rehab money caused units fixed with those funds to count in the mix to 10% of affordable units while the loans were in place. We need Pacheco and Gifford fighting to get that back. There are many ways to hit that 10%
  • There are many foreclosure properties in Wareham this spring. Investors can apply for CEDA money to rehab these and designate them for affordable rentals. This increases the percentage, gets rid of blight and gets the properties on the tax rolls. Get together with some friends and invest in Wareham. Affordable means the resident income not the investors’.
  • Write to the state project manager not the selectmen. Call Pacheco and Gifford on Beacon Hill daily. Joseph Boncore and Kevin Honan chair the joint Committee on Housing.



Posted by: Just Me1 | Apr 28, 2018 08:19

I'd like some help here. We are all concerned about 40B projects in Wareham, but I cannot remember what constitutes "affordable housing" by the state's definition. Can someone help? Maybe we are looking at this from the wrong side. I'm wondering if the housing that is not counted (trailers/mobile homes and whatever else is included) can be modified to classify it as "affordable housing". So, what would it take? Can anyone help with citations?

 



Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 28, 2018 08:36

Its too bad Gannon you have such a hard time dealing with the truth. A project is what it will be, deal with it. You throw around a catch word that has been so missed used to deflect from truth it no longer has any real meaning.



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 28, 2018 10:45

want to know what's really too bad .. that such opinionated citizens lack the testicular fortitude to put their names on their comments ... I'd be more inclined to continue the debate if you had the strength of your conviction to not hide behind a stupid screen name.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 28, 2018 13:43

Mr. Gannon - while I appreciate your frustration with the tone of some of the comments here, I can't help but wonder given the tone and word choice of your most recent comment if you think that the only people who post under anonymous screen names are men?



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 28, 2018 14:07

Just Me1 - in order for a development to qualify as a Chapter 40B development in Massachusetts, 20-25 percent of the units must be set aside for households at or below 80 percent of the area median income. The remaining 75 percent of the units can be made available at market rate. In other words 75 percent (approximately 130) of the 174 proposed housing units will rent at market rate.

 

The intention of the law is to add much needed "affordable housing units" to housing stock (25 percent of units) while at the same time allowing developers enough profit from the market rate units (75 percent of units) to make it worth their while to create the development.

 

At the same time, the Chapter 40B housing law allows any town where a 40B development is built, to count 100 percent of the housing units in the development toward the number of affordable units the town is mandated to have based upon a total housing unit per town state formula. Allowing individual towns to count 100 percent of the units as affordable by state formula (when literally only 25 percent are affordable)  is "a perk" to encourage towns to welcome 40B developments.

 

For a more in depth explanation of Massachusetts's Chapter 40 B Housing Law follow the link below:

 

http://s-e-b.com/what-we-do/chapter-40b/



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 28, 2018 14:13

First Andrea, thank you for posting the information regarding the 40B program and how it's intended to benefit both the town and the developer. As to my choice of words, I frankly hadn't considered the possibility of a gender bias. If there were a gender neutral word to make the same assertion I'd be open to using it. Intestinal fortitude would certainly be gender neutral but I don't feel it carries the same intensity.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 28, 2018 22:41

Yea, I was thinking the same thing about testicular.  That was a bit contrary to the  viewpoint.



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 28, 2018 23:29

In attempts to be both gender neutral and tone neutral, here is a little metaphor:

 

We feed wild birds.  An array of attractive bird feeders hang from various locations in the yard.  We buy  bags of wild bird seed to fill the feeders.  A variety of beautiful birds come.  They gracefully land on the little perches and gently peck a little seed and then they fly away.  It’s enjoyable to watch and rewarding to provide this for the birds.  If birds could speak they’d say please and thank you.  We also get squirrels.  Not many, probably one sq6uyuirrel to every 50 birds. They scare away the nice little birds by climbing up on the feeders.  They gnaw the openings wider to gorge. They shake, gnaw, and pull until the feeders crash down to the ground.  Then they go down and devour every last seed. Darn rats with fluffy tails wreck everything.  Just a couple squirrels ruin it for all the birds. If those two darn squirrels could speak they’d say gimme more right now!

 

Wareham has enough squirrels and certainly doesn’t need to attract anymore. Unfortunately with affordable housing comes subsided housing.  The proponents fail to mention that.  Section 8 or whatever it's called will eventually infiltrate this complex as it has at the Woods of Wareham and Brandy Hill.  Heck, the fancy apartments going up next to the Marriott aren't even exempt from that happening.   If they can't rent  all the units, they'll do what it takes.  Section 8 is great for the slumlord (oops, I meant owner). They get a guaranteed monthly check without chasing rent.

 

 



Posted by: Just Me1 | Apr 29, 2018 11:29

Thank you for your reply, Andrea. Unfortunately, I perhaps didn't make my question clear. My question is - Why do the trailers not qualify as affordable housing? Because they are on wheels? Manufactured in a factory rather than stick-built? What are the criteria for calling a house affordable housing?

 



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 29, 2018 11:57

Just Me 1 - An act by the state legislature would be necessary in order for mobile homes to qualify as affordable housing. Wareham's State Representative Susan Williams-Gifford has proposed legislation to qualify mobile homes as affordable housing, but it hasn't made it through the legislature. I don't know why the legislature is resistant to passing such legislation. Below is a link to a Wareham Week article that provides a lot of information on the topic. If the link doesn't work, just do a search via either Wareham Week's search option or the internet for:

 

State pressured to count mobile homes as affordable Housing

 

https://wareham-ma.villagesoup.com/p/state-pressured-to-count-mobile-homes-as-affordable-housing/1583701



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 29, 2018 13:15

Trailers should be an added bonus on a sufficient amount of affordable housing.    With or without trailers being considered, Wareham has plenty of affordable housing.    On this rainy Sunday afternoon, grab a cup of coffee and take a ride around.  Start up in Shang.  Zig zag the streets.  Look around.  There are hundreds of small  modest homes.   Next shoot over to the ranch development part of Cromessett where you will see slab ranch after slab ranch.  Same situation in Bayberry up off of Charlotte Furnace.  Then you might as well hit Onset Av from Depot St to Onset Center.  Zigzag those side streets and look around!  Hundreds of tiny little cottage like houses.  If the thousands of houses visible in those places I just listed aren't affordable, I'd hate to see what an affordable house looks like!!!!.

Something is wrong with how Wareham tallies the affordable"houses in town.  Name one other town with so many modest little houses?



Posted by: OnsetTogether | Apr 29, 2018 17:11

The Housing Committee doesn't even take it up. I've spoken to the chairmen. It's all smoke and mirrors. In some communities state-wide the "mobile homes" are actually expensive and well kept and they do not want to be lumped in. We need to get off that red herring. Affordable housing does not equate with Section 8 either. A tenant can be income qualified and not make it off the years long section 8 list.



Posted by: Uptohere | Apr 30, 2018 07:01

Gannon its because of arrogant people that used inflammatory push buttons words like you to bully others that some use other names. Try getting off you high horse and stick to facts instead of your usual tactics. You wont find your false narrative of guilt inducing words to cause the effect it once had.



Posted by: barnstorm | Apr 30, 2018 07:43

I thought Bruce Gannon was living in Rhode Island???



Posted by: Steve Holmes | Apr 30, 2018 08:10

Bruce you know the inner workings and the finance issues with developments. While some here focus on the tennants, i believe most would agree that some folks in our society need a hand up, they should be afforded that help, the folks that are just grabbing the hand out do sour the orchard unfortunately.

Wareham has been trying for years to count mobile homes, and tie us in to the New Bedford income numbers. Both have failed. Rep. Gifford continues the fight, if she could change it on her own it would have been done when she was a Selectperson. Legislators dont want to open that can of worms so they just refuse to listen and take it up.

The development will be built, no Town Board can stop it, given the 40B regulations. The Towns say no, the State Housing Board says yes. Our focus should be when this is built what do we need to make it work, and start trying to negotiate those things with the developer. The more you fight a losing battle, the more it cost them, and thats less money they have to spend in the Town.

Schools will not get enough money from the State based on current formula, so try to get a capital item in exchange for the complex. If police are an issue, try to deal for a cruiser, if sewer is the issue try for an independent on site treatment plant. You get my point...

Just saying we dont want it, is what typically happens and in the end the Town gets nothing in exchange. These are not bribes, but normal trade offs in development. With Walmart we got an ambulance, AD Makepeace we got a new/updated sewer treatment site. And that list goes on....

I still would like to see at least 10% of the equation to include our homeless veterans. There are ways that could happen and the developers could be assured their rent will be paid.

It will be built and we will welcome the new residents to our Wareham family. The question now is what can we get in exchange for working with the developer.



Posted by: Just Me1 | Apr 30, 2018 10:27

Andrea Smith and others - Please, I guess i am not making myself clear, so let me try it a different way. Specifically and with citation from state law, why are mobile homes not considered affordable housing?



Posted by: Wareham By The Sea | Apr 30, 2018 11:35

Just me- it has got something to do with the fact that the house is mobile and the owner of the mobile home doesn't pay taxes on the value of the mobile home.  That fact is coupled with the fact that the land owner (not the mobile home owner) pays tax on the land under the trailer.  The complications associated with that disqualify mobile homes as taxable real estate.  Therefore disqualifying them as affordable housing.

 

I'm sure I wasn't 100% with that explaination but it's along those lines.



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 30, 2018 13:32

The State does not want to allow mobile home parks to be considered affordable. Having Wareham meet its 10% goal with Mobile homes would mean that these 40B PROJECTS would need to go to the more affluent communities that donate to the liberal weasels that use this State as their own personal piggy banks. Does anyone really think that the liberal maggots aren't getting their pockets lined by Dakota and other 40B PROJECT developers.  Using WBTS explanation above, does an apartment in a 40B PROJECT fall right in line with the same. Someone other than the resident owns the land and the building in a 40B PROJECT yet its considered affordable.  In a trailer park someone other than the resident owns the land but the resident owns home yet its not considered affordable. Only in a State where there are so many liberal idiots can this make sense to someone.



Posted by: bruce gannon | Apr 30, 2018 14:02

dear Shere, it's not some grand conspiracy that the state doesn't want to consider mobile homes. It's not that sexy. Mobile homes are not considered real estate for ANY purpose. You can't get a mortgage to own one. If that ever changes then they certainly could be considered but it wouldn't be retroactive to existing mobile homes. Mobile homes are owned by individuals and even if they are rented to others they are not part of a multi unit development.

 



Posted by: Spherebreaker | Apr 30, 2018 14:59

You can get a mortgage to own one. Many would have more affordable payments than what Dakota will be getting for junk they build if they bought instead of renting.



Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 30, 2018 17:24

I'd still like to see the formula that's used to calculate said affordability of homes. To my knowledge there isn't anywhere in this town that you could purchase a home on an annual salary of $ 26,000. That's slightly higher than minimum wage, and close to what some of our senior citizens survive on. You couldn't pay rent at this new Dakota trap on that salary without being on the system or having a roommate.

Considering many of the homes in Wareham are listed over $300,000 the threshold of affordable housing is where ? I see more houses listed for sale that are closer to the $500,000 than they are to the $175,000 mark so it's hard to judge what the smart people are doing for math.

Comparing my home to those out off Greengate lane or down Warren point and one could say my home is affordable... So let's cut the play on words out and align the facts.

I guess this is what we get when we allow complete neighborhoods to be built without any implications that affordable housing will be incorporated into the design. Get that money.



Posted by: Andrea Smith | Apr 30, 2018 17:58

Just Me1 and Cranky pants - regarding "citation from state law" and  "seeing the formula that's used to calculate affordability of homes" I am not able to provide direct links to that information online. I suggest that if you wish to pursue the information you contact the selectman's office either by phone or email and request that Selectman Slavin contact you. He's well versed in Affordable Housing issues and very good about responding to residents' questions and concerns. You can find the contact information on the selectman's web page:

 

http://www.wareham.ma.us/board-selectmen



Posted by: cranky pants | Apr 30, 2018 18:44

Thanks :)



Posted by: Just Me1 | May 01, 2018 07:21

Thank you, Andrea.



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