Developer selected for Littleton Drive

Apr 28, 2020

The Wareham Redevelopment Authority will soon open negotiations with developer Pennrose to bring 92 housing units to land currently owned by the town on Littleton Drive. The Authority received three responses to its request for proposals, and felt Pennrose’s was best aligned with the town’s goals.

Last spring, Town Meeting voters approved transferring the land, which had been owned by the town, to the Wareham Redevelopment Authority. The property, which was approved to become a 47-lot subdivision in 1971, was foreclosed on in 1979 and transferred to the town in 1981.

The demand in town — and across the region — for affordable senior housing far outstrips the supply, and voters expressed enthusiasm for that goal at the last Town Meeting.

Due to various state restrictions related to incentives for developers, it isn’t possible for the development to be exclusively affordable senior housing.

The project is proposed in two phases. In the first phase, 54 units would be built around a green: 20 one-bedrooms, 28 two-bedrooms, and six three-bedrooms. The second phase would consist of 28 one-bedroom units, reserved for senior citizens, in one building.

The development could help the town reach the ten percent affordable housing threshold. As long as Wareham’s housing stock is made up of less than ten percent affordable units, it has little recourse to prevent developers building under Chapter 40B rules, which allow them to bypass some local zoning and planning bylaws.

In a quirk of the law, if some percentage of the apartments in a new development are affordable, as long as all the other units are rentals, the entire count goes towards the ten percent marker.

The plans are far from final, and would need to be approved by local permitting authorities.