Wareham wants mobile homes counted as affordable (yet again)

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.