Category Archives: Affordable housing / 40B

MHS newspaper article on affordable housing

I was recently interviewed by James Kirk for the Medfield High School newspaper article he and Theo Girard wrote on affordable housing, which can be found via this link – https://kingsburychronicle.weebly.com/medfield-and-affordable-housing.html

kingsbury chronicle 40b article

DHCD approves Rosebay

Rosebay

DHCD approves Rosebay

For me, the most notable item in the materials for the Tuesday meeting I just reviewed was to see that the state Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) had approved the Rosebay project as being appropriate for its site.

The town has asked the Rosebay developer to negotiate the size and mass of the proposal before he files for a comprehensive permit with Zoning Board of Appeals, so that a more acceptable project can proceed as a Local Initiative Project (LIP), supported by the Town of Medfield.  The town remains in a strong position, as we are in a 40B safe harbor, so hopefully the changes sought can be quickly achieved.  If the Rosebay does not proceed as a LIP, the ZBA can safely merely turn it down.

Town to DHCD on Rosebay

MICHAEL J. SULLIVAN Town Admmislralor TOWN OF MEDFIELD Office of BOARD OF SELECTMEN TOWN HOUSE, 459 MAIN STREET MEDFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS 02052-0315 (508) 359-8505 November27,2018 Catherine Racer, Associate Director Division ofHousing and Development Department ofHousing and Community Development 100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300 Boston, Massachusetts 02114 RE: Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit Project Name: Location: NumberofUnits: Subsidizing Agency: Applicant: The Rosebay at Medfield 30 Pound Street, Medfield, MA, 02502 45 Units (45 affordable) DHCD Newgate Housing LLC Dear Ms. Racer, Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Project Eligibility Application under the Chapter 40B program for a proposed Low Income Housing Tax Credit ("LIHTC") development. The Rosebay at Medfield, a 45-unit senior housing rental development proposed by Newgate Housing LLC contains 37 one-bedroom units and 8 two-bedroom units as well as programming space for elder services. The project site is currently in partial use as a Medfield Housing Authority senior housing property ("Tilden Village"). Tilden Village includes 60 units within six two-story buildings and is served by existing municipal infrastructure. As Tilden Village is not served by elevators and none ofthe upper-story units are accessible, and as the proposed development includes programming space for elder services, it is logical to locate new senior housing on the undeveloped two-acre portion ofthe site. There is very limited available land in Medfield that is served by public water and sewer - including most undeveloped Town-owned land and the former Medfield State Hospital Site. This presents significant challenges to the provision ofaffordable housing on other Town-owned sites. In order to increase the supply of handicap accessible affordable senior rental housing which would provide a modest number oftwo-bedroom units to accommodate households with authorized home care workers the site at 30 Pound Street is ideal given its proximate location to the Town Center, existing senior housing, and local services. The Medfield Board ofSelectmen has reviewed the application and is in support ofthe concept to construct affordable senior housing on this site but has some reservations about the design and potential traffic impacts ofthe proposed building. Having recently completed a Housing Production Plan which underscored the need for more diverse housing units in terms ofunit size, tenure, and cost, the Plan specifically identified both Tilden Village and the Town Center as a target area for affordable housing. The Townled effort to allow further development at Tilden Village has been a partnership between the Board ofthe Selectmen, the Medfield Affordable Housing Trust, and the Medfield Housing Authority to develop and issue an RFP for this site, and then to select the most responsible proposer [Newgate LLC]. The applicant has worked with the Town to develop a development program to create additional senior housing. The building, which has not yet undergone local permitting, has generated concem from neighboring residents and within the Town government. Although the applicant states that much ofthe design issues could be worked out during the Zoning Board ofAppeals ("ZBA") process, the Town would prefer the applicant to revise their design program prior to appearing before the ZBA as incomplete applications could potentially undermine concerted efforts on the Town's part to make the plan review process as transparent as possible. The applicant's permitting strategy to wait until after the commencement ofa hearing at the ZBA could damage newly formed public trust and lead to confusion and the spread ofmisinformation, which could be detrimental to an already sensitive proposal for much needed housing and add considerable time and acrimony to the process. Due to these factors, the Board of Selectmen may opt not to support this project unless the applicant changes approach and becomes more responsive to community concems regarding design and traffic impacts, and consequently, they may recommend that the Zoning Board ofAppeals deny this project, as is their right due to the Town's position in Safe Harbor. In addition to the Town's efforts to improve public perception regarding affordable housing, the Town has made significant strides to increase the actual production of affordable housing opportunities within the Town. Since the completion ofthe Housing Production Plan, the Town has authorized the fonnation ofan Affordable Housing Trust ("Trust"), passed a $lm bond to capitalize the Trust, and adopted an aggressive Inclusionary Zoning Bylaw at Annual Town Meeting in 2017. The Town has been involved in further planning efforts including the Trust's completion ofa Five-Year Action Plan and Strategy and a Master Plan for the State Hospital site, which features provisions for affordable housing opportunities. Since the adoption ofthe Housing Production Plan, the Town has met their targets to reach Safe Harbor by approving the following developments: Cushman House at 67 North Street (rental, 8 units, 2 affordable), 71 North Street (rental, 8 apartments, 2 affordable), Chapel Hill Landing (ownership, 49 units, 13 affordable), Hillside Village (rental, 16 apartments, 4 affordable), and is currently reviewing Medfield Green at 41 Dale Street (mixed tenure, 36 units, 27 SHI eligible units). The Medfield Planning Board took the opportunity to comment on the proposal early in concept at their August 28, 2017 meeting and again at their September 17, 2018 meeting. The Planning Board is concemed about the design ofthe building; in particular with respect to the roofline and the massing. Although the school complex is a large institutional building, Tilden Village consists ofmodest two-story structures and the surrounding neighborhood contains single family homes. The Planning Board is concemed that the proposed building is not in keeping with the architectural vemacular ofthe area and would like to see more effort to appropriately mass the building so as to minimize impacts on neighboring properties. Medfield's local design standards discourage long unbroken facades, and they should be avoided and broken up with recesses and projections, changes in materials, and complimentary landscaping; although these standards are not applicable to a development pursuant to Chapter 40B, they do offer insight as to what the Town might consider appropriate design. The Planning Board also requested a traffic report and recommended the Zoning Board ofAppeals consider obtaining technical assistance for the design review ofthe proposed building. A site visit with DHCD was conducted on November 6, 2018. During the site visit, the following issues were discussed: • Identification ofproject in Housing Production Plan • Services and amenities offered and available in the community near the project site • Amount ofaffordable family housing available in Medfield • Level of support from the Town and residents • Comments related to the school, such as retention ofan existing path • Minimum age restriction (55 versus 62) • Bedroom counts; necessity for two-bedroom units • Height, bulk, massing and architectural context • Lockbox gate in rear • Absence ofwetlands or natural heritage areas Following the site visit, Town Officials have submitted the following comments: TOWN ADMINISTRATOR The Town Administrator is not supportive ofthis proposal. The Town Administrator believes that the proposed neighborhood has faced a lot ofrecent development, including the 2005 renovation ofthe Middle and High Schools (originally constructed in 1961),a recent multifamily conversion resulting in the preservation ofthe historic Cushman House and resulting in 8 units including two affordable handicap accessible units, and a proposed adjacent multifamily project, also resulting in an increase of8 units including two affordable units for a total of 16 units within a halfmile radius ofthe project site. Further, Pound Street is currently used as a commuter cut through which would be impacted by this project. The Town Administrator would prefer to focus development at the former State Hospital Site. BOARD OF HEALTH Due to the project site's location within the Aquifer Protection Zone [which covers much ofthe Town], the applicant is requested to infiltrate, at a minimum, the first one-inch of run-offfrom the entire site, and that run offfrom impervious surfaces be treated to the highest regulatory standard prior to infiltration. The Board ofHealth believes this will help ensure that the Town can maintain a clean and adequate supply ofdrinking water to its citizens, including those who reside and/or work at this project site. DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS Although the Department ofPublic Works (DPW) anticipates that all drainage, water, and sewer utilities will be shown on future plans as the project progresses, there are still some concems about other missing elements. The current plans do not address snow removal for the planned development. It is unclear ifthere will be snow storage areas dedicated for winter operations or ifthe snow be removed from the site. DPW notes that ifthe snow is planned to be removed from the site, accommodations for larger removal equipment such as, loaders, trailer dumps or large blowers should be considered. Parking vehicles within the right-of-way while snow removal in the development takes place should not be entertained as the town enforces parking bans throughout the winter months. In addition, the applicant shows a driving lane and two parking spaces located within a 20' wide drainage easement held by DPW. Further discussion between the applicant and DPW will be required regarding the easement. In addition, details for handicap accessibility should be shown for each ofthe sidewalk approaches to the main entrance driveway on Pound Street. Lastly, DPW notes that all permits should be obtained before any work has commenced for street opening, trenching, and water and sewer connections; and believes the applicant should satisfy concems related to increased traffic. COUNCIL ON AGING The Council on Aging is supportive ofthis proposal but has some concems about the appearance ofthe building, as well as the size and height. MEDFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS The Medfield School Department is concemed by how close the building and parking is to adjacent Middle and High School complex. Many students at both the middle school and high school walk to school, and use an existing path that runs through the site to access the school. Maintaining the safe pedestrian access through the site for students should be a priority. There is also concem that the current road on the school side will be used as an emergency egress into the property. The school property has consistent traffic from 7am -llpm from Sunday-Saturday for the period of September - June, and could be impacted by this project. Finally, the School Department notes that part ofthe Housing Authority property is currently in use as a playground for the School's daycare. MEDFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT The Medfield Police Department is supportive ofthis proposal, but would like to see more details related to site illumination and traffic impacts. MEDFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT The Medfield Fire Department would prefer the applicant use a lockbox at the gate for emergency egress in lieu ofOpticon, a barcode scanning system. RESIDENT COMMENTS In addition to those comments by Town Officials, a number ofneighbors and residents have also submitted comments on the proposed project. Most comments related to concems related to the Aquifer Protection District, the appropriateness ofthe building, the design ofthe building, and traffic impacts; however, not all letters spoke in opposition and several residents did issue letters ofsupport. GENERAL COMMENTS Finally, the Town has reviewed the development budget and operating pro forma for the proposed project. The Town recognizes that there are real challenges with respect to finding income eligible tenants who can afford LIHTC rents without a rental subsidy but notes that the proposal calls for 8 apartments to be "Low Income, Rental Assisted" units. The Town would like to better understand the anticipated source, amount, and duration of this partial rental subsidy as part ofits assessment ofproject viability. While it is premature to expect the development team to stipulate a recapitalization plan for the end ofthe tax credit period at this very early point in the process, the Town seeks reasonable assurances regarding the long-term feasibility ofthe development including potentially following a transfer ofcontrol to the Housing Authority or another party ifthe original partnership is dissolved after the initial LIHTC compliance period ends after 15 years. Understanding the availability and likelihood ofrental assistance for some ofthe project's units, both during and after the LIHTC compliance period, is important in this respect. The Town also notes that the fair market rents for 2019 have been issued and should be used in Newgate LLC's pro forma calculations. Due to long-term funding challenges, the Town also recognizes that the affordable units in this development are smaller than those required by DHCD but believes this will assist with future affordability. As the project consists ofthree fully handicap accessible units and two hearing impaired accessible units, and the building is served by an elevator, the Town is satisfied that the units will provide significant housing opportunities for lower income senior households. Although DHCD has advised against the inclusion oftwo-bedroom units, the Town would like to see the two-bedroom units to remain so as to allow for the occupancy of an authorized home care worker and believes such units would provide a significant benefit to the Town. In consideration ofthe above comments, and those enclosed, it is our expectation that you will agree that the Rosebay at Medfield is eligible for funding by DHCD so they may proceed with applying for LIHTC credits. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have. ^ [ichaerMardiicci, Chairman Medfield Board of Selectmen20181203-SR-Rosebay - Medfield Municipal Comment Letter 12-03-18_Page_220181203-SR-Rosebay - Medfield Municipal Comment Letter 12-03-18_Page_320181203-SR-Rosebay - Medfield Municipal Comment Letter 12-03-18_Page_420181203-SR-Rosebay - Medfield Municipal Comment Letter 12-03-18_Page_5

Current draft of town response

Rosebay

This email yesterday from Sarah Raposa, Town Planner about the town’s draft letter to Department of Housing and Community Development about the Rosebay project –

=========================================================

TOWN OF MEDFIELD
Office of

BOARD OF SELECTMEN

TOWN HOUSE, 459 MAIN STREET

MEDFIELD, MASSACHUSETTS 02052-0315

 

November 27, 2018

 

Catherine Racer, Associate Director

Division of Housing and Development

Department of Housing and Community Development

100 Cambridge Street, Suite 300

Boston, Massachusetts 02114

 

RE:      Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit

Project Name: The Rosebay at Medfield
Location: 30 Pound Street, Medfield, MA, 02502
Number of Units: 45 Units (45 affordable)
Subsidizing Agency: DHCD
Applicant: Newgate Housing LLC

 

Dear Ms. Racer,

 

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on the Project Eligibility Application under the Chapter 40B program, for a proposed Low Income Housing Tax Credit (“LIHTC”) development.  The Rosebay at Medfield, a 45-unit senior housing rental development proposed by Newgate Housing LLC contains 37 one-bedroom units and 8 two-bedroom units as well as programming space for elder services. The project site, which is currently in partial use as a Medfield Housing Authority senior housing property (“Tilden Village”), which currently contains 60 units within six two-story buildings and is served by existing municipal infrastructure. As Tilden Village is not served by elevators and none of the upper-story units are accessible, and as the proposed development includes programming space for elder services, it is logical to locate new senior housing on the undeveloped two-acre portion of the site; particularly as there is very limited available land in Medfield that is served by public water and sewer – including most undeveloped Town-owned land and the former Medfield State Hospital Site; thereby presenting significant challenges to the provision of affordable housing on other Town-owned sites. In order to increase both the supply of affordable senior rental housing, and also handicap accessible housing, as well as to provide a modest number of two-bedroom units to accommodate households with authorized home care workers, and the inclusion of space for elder services, the site at 30 Pound Street is ideal given its proximate location to the Town Center, existing senior housing, and local services.

 

The Medfield Board of Selectmen has reviewed the application and is in support of the concept to construct affordable senior housing on this site; but has some reservations about the design and potential traffic impacts of the proposed building. Having recently completed a Housing Production Plan which underscored the need for more diverse housing units in terms of unit size, tenure, and cost, the Plan specifically identified both Tilden Village and the Town Center as a target area for affordable housing. The Town-led effort to allow further development at Tilden Village has been a partnership between the Board of the Selectmen, the Medfield Affordable Housing Trust, and the Medfield Housing Authority to develop and issue and RFP for this site, and then to select the most responsible proposer [Newgate LLC].  The applicant has worked with the Town to develop a development program to create additional senior housing. The building, which has not yet undergone local permitting, has generated concern from neighboring residents and within the Town government. Although the applicant states that much of the design issues could be worked out during the Zoning Board of Appeals (“ZBA”) process, the Town would prefer the applicant to revise their design program prior to appearing before the ZBA as incomplete applications could potentially undermine concerted efforts on the Town’s part to make the plan review process as transparent as possible. The applicant’s permitting strategy to wait until after the commencement of a hearing at the ZBA could damage newly formed public trust and could lead to confusion and the spread of misinformation, which could be detrimental to an already sensitive proposal for much needed housing and add considerable time and acrimony to the process. Due to these factors, the Board of Selectmen may opt not to support this project unless the applicant changes approach and becomes more responsive to community concerns regarding design and traffic impacts, and consequently, they may recommend that the Zoning Board of Appeals deny this project, as is their right due to the Town’s position in Safe Harbor.

 

In addition to the Town’s efforts to improve public perception regarding affordable housing, the Town has made significant strides to increase the actual production of affordable housing opportunities within the Town. Since the completion of the Housing Production Plan, the Town has authorized the formation of an Affordable Housing Trust (“Trust”), passed a $1m bond to capitalize the Trust, and adopted an aggressive Inclusionary Zoning Bylaw at Annual Town Meeting in 2017. The Town has been involved in further planning efforts including the Trust’s completion of a Five-Year Action Plan and Strategy and a Master Plan for the State Hospital site, which features provisions for affordable housing opportunities. Since the adoption of the Housing Production Plan, the Town has met their targets to reach Safe Harbor by approving the following developments: Cushman House at 67 North Street (rental, 8 units, 2 affordable), 71 North Street (rental, 8 apartments, 2 affordable), Chapel Hill Landing (ownership, 49 units, 13 affordable), Hillside Village (rental, 16 apartments, 4 affordable), and is currently reviewing Medfield Green at 41 Dale Street (mixed tenure, 36 units, 27 SHI eligible units).

 

The Medfield Planning Board took the opportunity to comment on the proposal early in concept at their August 28, 2017 meeting and again at their September 17, 2018 meeting. The Planning Board is concerned about the design of the building; in particular with respect to the roofline and the massing. Although the school complex is a large institutional building, Tilden Village consists of modest two-story structures and the surrounding neighborhood contains single family homes. The Planning Board is concerned that the proposed building is not in keeping with the architectural vernacular of the area and would like to see more effort to appropriately mass the building so as to minimize impacts on neighboring properties.  Medfield’s local design standards discourage long unbroken facades, and they should be avoided and broken up with recesses and projections, changes in materials, and complimentary landscaping; although these standards are not applicable to a development pursuant to Chapter 40B, they do offer insight as to what the Town might consider appropriate design. The Planning Board also requested a traffic report and recommended the Zoning Board of Appeals consider obtaining technical assistance for the design review of the proposed building.

 

A site visit with DHCD was conducted on November 6, 2018. During the site visit, the following issues were discussed:

 

  • Identification of project in Housing Production Plan
  • Services and amenities offered and available in the community near the project site
  • Amount of affordable family housing available in Medfield
  • Level of support from the Town and residents
  • Comments related to the school, such as retention of an existing path
  • Minimum age restriction (55 versus 62)
  • Bedroom counts; necessity for two-bedroom units
  • Height, bulk, massing and architectural context
  • Lockbox gate in rear
  • Absence of wetlands or natural heritage areas

 

Following the site visit, Town Officials have submitted the following comments:

 

TOWN ADMINISTRATOR

The Town Administrator is not supportive of this proposal. The Town Administrator believes that the proposed neighborhood has faced a lot of recent development, including the 2005 renovation of the Middle and High Schools (originally constructed in 1961), a recent multifamily conversion resulting in the preservation of the historic Cushman House and resulting in 8 units including two affordable handicap accessible units, and a proposed adjacent multifamily project, also resulting in an increase of 8 units including two affordable units for a total of 16 units within a half mile radius of the project site. Further, Pound Street is currently used as a commuter cut through which would be impacted by this project. The Town Administrator would prefer to focus development at the Former State Hospital Site.

 

BOARD OF HEALTH

Due to the project site’s location within the Aquifer Protection Zone [which covers much of the Town], the applicant is requested to infiltrate, at a minimum, the first one-inch of run-off from the site entire site, and that run off from impervious surfaces be treated to the highest regulatory standard prior to infiltration. The Board of Health believes this will help ensure that the Town can maintain a clean and adequate supply of drinking water to its citizens, including those who reside and/or work at this project site.

 

DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WORKS

Although the Department of Public Works (DPW) anticipates that all drainage, water, and sewer utilities will be shown on future plans as the project progresses, there are still some concerns about other missing elements. The current plans do not address snow removal for the planned development. It is unclear if there will there be snow storage areas dedicated for winter operations or if the snow be removed from the site. DPW notes that if the snow is planned to be removed from the site, accommodations for larger removal equipment such as, loaders, trailer dumps or large blowers should be considered. Parking vehicles within the right-of-way while snow removal in the development takes place should not be entertained as the town enforces parking bans throughout the winter months. In addition, the applicant shows a driving lane and two parking spaces located within a 20’ wide drainage easement held by DPW. Further discussion between the applicant and DPW will be required regarding the easement. In addition, details for handicap accessibility should be shown for each of the sidewalk approaches to the main entrance driveway on Pound Street. Lastly, DPW notes that all permits should be obtained before any work has commenced for street opening, trenching, and water and sewer connections; and believes the applicant should satisfy concerns related to increased traffic.

 

COUNCIL ON AGING

The Council on Aging is supportive of this proposal but has some concerns about the appearance of the building, as well as the size and height.

 

MEDFIELD PUBLIC SCHOOLS

The Medfield School Department is concerned by how close the building and parking is to adjacent Middle and High School complex. Many students at both the middle school and high school walk to school, and use an existing path that runs through the site to access the school.  Maintaining the safe pedestrian access through the site for students should be a priority. There is also concern that the current road on the school side will be used as an emergency egress into the property. The school property has consistent traffic from 7am -11 pm from Sunday-Saturday for the period of September – June, and could be impacted by this project. Finally, the School Department notes that part of the Housing Authority property is currently in use as a playground for the School’s daycare.

 

MEDFIELD POLICE DEPARTMENT

The Medfield Police Department is supportive of this proposal, but would like to see more details related to site illumination and traffic impacts.

 

MEDFIELD FIRE DEPARTMENT

The Medfield Fire Department would prefer the applicant use a lockbox at the gate for emergency egress in lieu of Opticon, a barcode scanning system.

 

RESIDENT COMMENTS

In addition to those comments by Town Officials, a number of neighbors and residents have also submitted comments on the proposed project. Most comments related to concerns related to the Aquifer Protection District, the appropriateness of the building, the design of the building, and traffic impacts; however, not all letters spoke in opposition and several residents did issue letters of support.

 

GENERAL COMMENTS

Finally, the Town has some concerns regarding the pro forma and the long-term financial viability of the project once the compliance period ends for tax credit recapture. The Town recognizes that there are real challenges with respect to finding income eligible tenants who can afford LIHTC rents without a rental subsidy. With no long-term rental subsidy or other known recapitalization plan, there is some concern as to what position this may put the Housing Authority in should they wish to regain control of the property upon the dissolution of the Limited Partnership Agreement in light of the need to also pay for maintenance and management expenses. The Town also notes that the fair market rents for 2019 have been issued and should be used in New Gate LLC’s pro forma calculations. Due to long-term funding challenges, the Town also recognizes that the affordable units in this development are smaller than those required by DHCD but believes this will assist with future affordability. As the project consists of three fully handicap accessible units and two hearing impaired accessible units, and the building is served by an elevator, the Town is satisfied that the units will provide significant housing opportunities for lower income senior households. Although DHCD has advised against the inclusion of two-bedroom units, the Town would like to see the two-bedroom units to remain so as to allow for the occupancy of an authorized home care worker and believes such units would provide a significant benefit the Town.

 

In consideration of the above comments, and those enclosed, it is our expectation that you will agree that the Rosebay at Medfield is eligible for funding by DHCD so they may proceed with applying for LIHTC credits.

 

Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions that you may have.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Michael Marcucci, Chairman

Medfield Board of Selectmen

 

Rosebay follow up #2

Rosebay

EMAIL EXCHANGE THIS AFTERNOON BETWEEN TOWN PLANNER AND NEIGHBOR:

Email from neighbor =  “Our main concern is the scale of the project is massive in relation to the neighborhood.”

 

Sarah Raposa email back = The Planning Board will be requesting that the ZBA include architectural and design review as part of the the ZBA’s technical review process in order to find ways to reduce the height and bulk of the building.

Sarah

Sarah Raposa, AICP

Town Planner
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA  02052
(508) 906-3027
sraposa@medfield.net

www.town.medfield.net

 

 

Better Rosebay update

Rosebay

Always best to get your information from the people who really know things.  This is the response email from Sarah Raposa to the abutting neighbors providing the straight story.

==================================================

Pete did a good job of summarizing the process and addressing your concerns. I think that some of the aspects of the failed Senior Housing Overlay District Bylaw may have trickled into your thinking on Points 4 & 5. The Rosebay units are indeed proposed to be perpetually affordable to seniors who income qualify (Point 4) and the Town will likely exercise its right to request 70% local preference (Point 5). The local preference step is done after a comprehensive permit is issued. We have done this for all of the 40B thus far.  Affordability and local preference were issues that came up at special town meeting that we could not control through the zoning but are part of the 40B process.

Please let me know if you have additional questions or concerns.

Best,

Sarah

Sarah Raposa, AICP

Town Planner
459 Main Street
Medfield, MA  02052
(508) 906-3027
sraposa@medfield.net

www.town.medfield.net

 

Rosebay update

Rosebay

I responded this morning to an email from Pound Street neighbors of the proposed Rosebay project to both me and Sarah Raposa, Town Planner, and I  thought others might be interested in that response, which follows.

=====================================================

Sarah will know this landscape better than I, but I will share what I know and my current thinking.

 

The current step calls for the Board of Selectmen to make a submission to Department of Housing and Community Development about the appropriateness of the site for the project, which is an initial determination that DHCD must make for the developer to move forward to the real permitting phase, which is the application for a comprehensive permit before the Zoning Board of Appeals of the Town of Medfield.  It is really before the ZBA where the decisions will get made as to all the details of the sorts of land use issues that you are raising as concerns will get addressed and decided.  The ZBA will undoubtedly be seeking neighborhood input into what it should decide, and I encourage you to be involved in that process.  It is usually an iterative process over many meetings, spread over many months, as the developer will submit detailed plans and the town will hire, at the applicant’s expense, its own peer review engineers and other experts to analyze those plans and to make recommendations to the ZBA on the developer’s submission.

 

At this stage, DHCD is merely issuing a preliminary yes or no as to whether the proposed project is appropriate enough to the site so as to be allowed to proceed to the comprehensive permit filing process.  You may recall that the 200 unit proposed 40B at the intersection of Rte. 27 and Dale Street was denied site approval by DHCD at a similar stage, in what all said at the time was a highly unusual denial.  It is my understanding that almost all proposed 40B’s receive DHCD approval to move forward to the comprehensive permit stage.

 

To date, the Board of Selectmen has generally been in favor of expanding the senior housing at that site, but to date has not weighed in on the current proposal.

 

However, I can share with you my thoughts on your particular issues (in the red):

  1. The proposed development is inconsistent with the character of the residential aspects of the neighborhood.  I say this because the proposed structure is a single, three- story building on a relatively small site.  A three-story building will dwarf the homes on the opposite side of Pound Street and the adjacent homes on the same side of the street.  Tilden Village is far more consistent with the character of the neighborhood.    — I would prefer to see a two story structure.  However, I do understand the benefits of such a building for seniors to be in one large building instead of the many smaller buildings as was done at Tilden.
  2. Light pollution from the development.   — I have learned from my involvement with the Medfield Energy Committee and its study of converting the town to LED streetlights that light from LED’s can be directed, so as to prevent such light pollution into neighbors lands.
  3. Potential traffic impacts on a street that is already congested in the mornings and afternoons due to traffic associated with the school campus.  — Yes, agreed.  I do not see a way around the traffic issue.  Traffic studies will likely be required, done, and peer reviewed, but more housing units means more traffic.
  4. The apartments are not affordable in perpetuity.   — I thought that they would have continued protection, but if that is not possible, then I would still favor doing the project is we can get a good number of years of such units for seniors. 
  5. Whether Medfield senior residents are likely to qualify for these affordable apartments.   — I do not know when one can build local preferences in and when one cannot, but even if we cannot with this particular project, these units will assist a lot of local seniors.  I expect the ZBA will build in whatever local preference is allowed.

 

This project is being planned by Brian McMillin, who formerly worked with Gatehouse when Gatehouse developed The Parc on West Street, and if Rosebay is build, the plans say that it would be managed by Gatehouse.  Therefore, I would expect Rosebay to both look and operate much as The Parc has.  From my recent inquiries of those who live directly across West Street from the Parc, I have learned that those people have found The Parc to be a problem free neighbor.