By Dot Bergin
At the Housing Partnership meeting on November 13, members discussed positive ideas for moving ahead on the redevelopment of the “Coast Guard” housing on Pine Hill Road, following the defeat of Article 7 at the Special Town Meeting.
Important to note: Mike Rosen, Assistant Town Manager, announced that Town Manager Rick Reed will schedule a meeting with the Municipal Affordable Housing Trust on November 28 at 6:30 pm to discuss next steps with Fran DeCoste, project manager for developer TR/Advisors. This will be a conversation with the developer, in a meeting that is open to all residents.
Housing Partnership members reviewed events at Town Meeting and concluded that more work needs to be done to assure those who objected to the project that their concerns “are being heard” and will be addressed. Chief among those concerns were questions of accessibility, density, traffic, and affordability of units being offered for sale.
Shawn Hanegan, Planning Board member of the Housing Partnership, who presented Article 7 at the Town Meeting, said there were several errors of fact brought up by opponents to the article. For instance, the maximum size of the units is 1500 sq. ft. (not 2500, as mentioned); the project is not senior restricted, in fact, multi-generational was the preference that came out the 2014 Charrettes.
Hanegan said that “with some tweaks,” and a better explanation of how the project evolved, he thought objections could be overcome. “We really did listen to the people,” he said. Hanegan said the developer can reapply and come before the 2018 Annual Town Meeting for another chance at approval. The new units proposed for the development can be built to accommodate buyers with physical disabilities, as has been pointed out. Hanegan said he plans to be at the November 28 meeting to enlist support from Housing Trust members.
In other business, Liz Rust, Regional Housing Services Office, reported that progress is continuing as planned with the sale of Bedford Village to Preservation of Affordable Housing (POHA.) Although not generally known, the property at 447 Concord Road (Wheeler Road) is also part of the Bedford Village sale. Wheeler Road has 12 affordable units and two at market rate. No additional funds are required and this is merely a change of ownership.