The Concord, Mass., developer that last year ditched a plan to build big single-family homes at 135 Great Plain Ave., in favor of a 44-unit condo complex has received a key blessing for its proposal. The quasi-public MassHousing outfit, which both vets and finances affordable housing projects, has granted developer Northland Residential site eligibility approval for its location down the road from the Wellesley dump.
Northland is smacking its lips over what it describes as a robust condo market that’s seen the likes of the Belclare complex across from Church Square fetching an average of $2M for its units in recent years. It’s hoping empty nesters will flock to the development.
The Great Plain project, which would include 11 affordable units, is being proposed as a 40B plan that could give the developer leniency on the zoning front. The developer now has a couple of years to wade through a gauntlet of town approvals. All this will take place against a backdrop of Wellesley putting a Housing Production Plan in place designed to give it more control over where affordable housing gets built in light of the onslaught of 40B proposals.
The town has already had plenty to say about the Great Plain Avenue plan. It has aired concerns about the development’s potential impact on everything from traffic to open space to safety to stormwater management. Oh, and the town thinks the project will basically look unattractive, too, if it goes through as planned.
MassHousing notes in its eligibility letter: “The Municipality expressed concern that the proposed conceptual site plan lacks creativity, is too regimented, and that it does not provide variation in the height or siting of structures.”
Neighbors have also voiced their concerns about the project, citing many of the same issues the town has raised.
Neighbors have banded together in Wellesley to express their support for well-planned affordable housing but have argued against squeezing such developments into areas where they will be disruptive (see Wellesley’s Affordable Housing Challenge).
The next step is for Northland to seek a comprehensive permit via the Zoning Board of Appeals.