Town Approves Affordable Housing Project

The Zoning Board of Appeals approved The Parc at Medfield, a 92-unit affordable housing complex to be built on West Street.

After months of meetings with town officials and consultants, as well as input from the public and concessions from the applicant, the Zoning Board of Appeals approved a comprehensive permit with conditions that will result in 92 units of affordable housing being built on West Street. 

At its meeting on Monday, ZBA members Russell Hallisey and Charles Peck voted to approve the permit for The Parc at Medfield Limited Partnership. 

The permit needed only a simple majority vote. The third member of the ZBA board, Robert Sylvia, resigned from the board on Dec. 11 after 40 years when his fellow board members did not take his advice to drastically scale back the project to approximately 60 units.

Since the town does not have 10 percent of its housing stock available as "affordable housing" under state guidelines (it is currently around 4.5 percent), the board felt its hands were tied (historically any appeals made at the state level are ruled in favor of the applicant) and the board, with its consultants, felt the town's best interests were represented in its final decision.  

The project will be constructed on five-plus acres of buildable land on a parcel that stretches from Route 27 to West Street in front of the former Potpourri building. 

A copy of the ZBA's 32-page decision was filed with the Town Clerk on Dec. 19 (and attached here as a pdf) and says:

The Project shall consist of not more than 92 multi-family rental units in four three-story buildings, a clubhouse, a maintenance garage, trash/recycling center, and other related amenities...Of the 92 approved units, 24 shall be one-bedroom units, 48 shall be two-bedroom units, and 20 shall be three-bedroom units...No area other than that designated as a bedroom on the floor plans shall be converted to or used as a sleeping area.

On condition of approval, the applicant agreed to:

  • Install a sheltered bus stop for the 60-80 children projected to move into the complex
  • Construct a five foot sidewalk along the northerly sideline of West street from the bus stop to Marsh Drive (approximately 750 feet)
  • Install stop signs and stop lines on both the Marsh Drive and Bridge Street approaches to West Street 
  • Provide 157 parking spaces with an area set aside for 10 more spaces if, after 12 months, the town's Building Commissioner deems them necessary
  • Construct a playground with age-appropriate equipment for children ages 5-12

Other items of note include:

  • Applicant will pay all normal permit application fees.
  • The project shall remain private in perpetuity, meaning the applicant will be responsible for upkeep, etc.
  • Exterior lighting shall not exceed 20 feet and shall be consistent with residential scale and style...which preclude point sources of light that are visible to motorists and to the residents on the south side of West Street.
  • Existing trees that will remain on site must be protected during construction
  • All construction shall be performed in accordance with applicable laws and regulations regarding noise, vibrations, dust, glare and sedimentation.
  • Applicant shall at all times use reasonable means to minimize inconvenience to businesses and residents in the surrounding area. 
  • Construction hours will be between 7 a.m. and 6 p.m., Monday through Friday. Saturday construction permitted with prior approval of Building Commissioner.
  • Truck traffic on the site will be restricted to 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Saturday. 
  • People eligible for affordable housing units include those whose income does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income. 
  • The applicant must provide an on-call property manager to respond to emergencies at the property. 
  • Will shift buildings four feet closer to their respective parking lots decreasing the required reach of the town's ladder firetruck. 
  • Will provide funding to the town for the purchase of a "reasonable number of additional 32' and 35' extension ladders." 
  • Utilities will be installed underground
  • Parking or storing unregistered vehicles is not allowed on the property
  • Applicant will be responsible for the operation and maintenance of the walkways, parking areas, stormwater management systems, etc., including snow removal and garbage removal. 
  • Applicant shall follow the Conservation Commission's Order of Conditions regarding issues on the site.

The 32-page decision included three pages of 47 different waivers to the town's zoning by-laws. The applicant received approval to:

  • Build multi-family housing in an Industrial-E district
  • Decrease the width of its parking spaces
  • Decrease the depth of the wastewater connection
  • Not require site plan approval from the Planning Board 
  • Not adhere to area regulations for industrial properties that fall within the Floodplain District, the Watershed Protection District, or the Aquifer Protection District
  • Not adhere to the screening and buffering requirements
  • Not adhere to regulations that allow a maximum building height of 46 feet and three stories
  • Accept a driveway width of 22 feet
  • Exempt the project from approvals by the Conservation Commission and Board of Health under town by-laws; the Board of Appeals has sole authority to act on those requirements

A full list of waivers is attached to the decision as Exhibit C.

What do you think about the decision? Tell us in the comments.

Medfield December 23, 2012 at 05:22 PM
Looking forward to voting Hallisey and Peck out.
Jay Gerber December 24, 2012 at 09:04 PM
So my property taxes went up over 5% with the revaluation. Seems they always go up when the town reevaluates the property assessment. Wonder how much more property taxes we will have to pay when for the extra teachers, fire and police we will need for 96 low income. We need to stop this crap and start thinking what will happen once we have to support the 96 units. When is Medfield going to start thing of the hard working tax payers.


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