The Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development this week approved Wellesley’s five-year housing production plan, an approach the town put together in the wake of last year’s onslaught of proposed 40B developments.
Developers say they are just trying to meet a need for more affordable housing units in Wellesley with 40Bs, which cut them slack around zoning bylaws in exchange for including a handful of affordable units. Opponents of those projects, several of which are still slogging their way through the town’s approvals process, say developers are disregarding neighbors in jamming their projects wherever they can squeeze them in an effort to exploit the fact that Wellesley’s overall affordable housing stock falls short of the state’s 10% standard.
The housing production plan, produced in partnership by the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board and Housing Development Corporation, would put Wellesley on a path to hitting that 10% goal by adding 45 units of subsidized housing annually. Efforts such as the redevelopment of the Tailby and Railroad lots in Wellesley Square could greatly help this effort, too. And that progress would give the town and residents more leverage in controlling Wellesley’s housing destiny and in dealing with what they deem as unfriendly 40B projects.