The Town of Medfield is currently actively engaged in trying to meet its affordable housing needs, one benefit of which will be to preclude developers from forcing unfriendly 40B developments onto the town.
To be protected from such unfriendly 40B’s, the town needs 10% of its housing to be affordable units (Subsidized Housing Inventory, or SHI) as defined by the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). We are currently at about 7% and need about 150 additional SHI units to be over 10%. Where the Town of Medfield is not yet at the 10% threshold, to be protected from unfriendly 40B developments int he interim, the town must have a Housing Production Plan (we recently adopted one first proposed about five years ago, which was subsequently approved by DHCD last month), and actually be constructing 21 units of SHI per year.
The Zoning Board of Appeals is currently hearing an application from the Larkin Brothers to build a 40B on Hospital Road consisting of 48 units of single family home condos, 12 of which were to be affordable units, and the remainder market rate units. At the town’s request, the Larkins have agreed to amend the project to add one extra affordable unit, so that it will be 49 total units, with 13 affordable units.
Additionally, Bob Borrelli had been permitting the Jacob Cushman house on North Street, across from my office, that he bought from Montrose School for commercial and retail on the first two floors, with two apartments on the third floor, but approached the town about changing the project to be eight rental units under a Local Initiative Program (LIP), with two affordable units. The Board of Selectmen voted last week to approve that LIP. Where the LIP is a rental project, under 40B rules, the entire eight units count as affordable (SHI) units.
Thus, the town currently has 21 SHI units in development, which if they get permitted before any other 40B proposal applies to the ZBA for a comprehensive permit, would allow the ZBA to safely decline to approve any 40B applications for the year following the approval of the 21 SHI units. At the moment, there is somewhat of a race going on between the Mega-B process and the two other 40B projects noted above – if the latter two are permitted first by the ZBA before the Mega-B can apply to the ZBA, then the town will have a one year safe harbor, and the ZBA can say “no” to the Mega-B.
Additionally, I have been meeting and working with Riverside Community Care and The Price Center to see if we could get some group homes built in town, as group homes for disable individuals has the advantage of providing one SHI for each bed, such that a group home for four people gives the town credit for four SHI units..
With that background in mind, Mike Sullivan circulated an email late last week about the status of the Borrelli LIP and the hearing postponement requested by the Larkins.
Kristine Trierweiler has hired a company to do the marketing on Borrelli’s North St. project. She said it would take about two weeks, once they get started. She has been trying to reach Atty Murphy to go over what else Borelli has to do the complete the application to DHCD for a LIP project and will keep trying.
I spoke to the Larkins last night and they said they would have everything ready for the ZBA continued hearing in January. They also told me that the had asked the ZBA for an additional affordable unit and the ZBA was supportive.
Mark Cerel called and said that he had received a response to the neighbors’ appeal of the Conservation Commission’s decision on the Dale St. land. It was from an Attorney Peter Freeman of the Freeman Law Group.
Will update you as more information is available. Mike S