Wareham board eyes Oct. 24 for decision on 150-unit affordable housing complex

Oct 11, 2018

A decision on a controversial 150-unit affordable housing development proposed for East Wareham may arrive on Oct. 24.

The Zoning Board of Appeals is scheduled to make a decision on the project. Dubbed Woodland Cove, the complex is slated for the intersection of Red Brook Road and Cranberry Highway. Waltham-based developer Dakota Partners unveiled plans for the project in June 2017. Original plans called for a 174-unit housing complex. Those plans drew widespread criticism from officials and residents. Critics said a project that size would tax Wareham’s infrastructure and services and the plans were scaled down.

Plans call for constructing six, three- and four-story apartment buildings along with a community building, recreation space and parking lots.

The Zoning Board of Appeals has been reviewing a “comprehensive permit” for the project for several months. If approved, the permit relaxes local regulations on the project under the state’s affordable housing law, known as 40B. Under Chapter 40B, zoning regulations are curtailed 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 percentage points to the amount of affordable housing in town.

Because Woodland Cove is proposed under 40B, officials have little recourse to deny it a permit due to state law. However, board members do have the ability to impose some conditions on the developer. Over the past few months, board members have asked for and received changes regarding parking, water and sewer and landscaping.

At the Oct. 24 meeting, board members planned to have an agreement which included all members requests as well as suggestions from the town’s engineer. The town has until Nov. 5 to make a decision.

The Zoning Board of Appeals will meet in the Multi-Service Center, located at 48 Marion Road. The meeting starts at 6:30 p.m.