The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, July 16, 2010

Benfield final decision expected July 14

The Zoning Board of Appeals is poised to grant a decision on the Benfield Farms affordable housing project and expects to sign a decision at their meeting on Wednesday, July 14.

During the past two weeks the board, along with attorneys for the board and the applicant, have continued to deliberate on the conditions and waivers for the comprehensive permit request to build 26 units of senior affordable housing on South Street.

According to Vice-chair Kevin T. Smith, a main issue was trying to be respectful of the neighbors’ concerns and trying to preserve the vistas on South Street, primarily through landscaping and restricting the signage. “The general feeling was that it was a good project, supported by the town and fairly presented by the applicant.” However, he noted the need for careful deliberations, “It’s a big project for Carlisle. It’s near conservation land and a well is going to be drilled in the conservation land.”

One recent change, according to Smith, has been that the developer has offered to reserve a larger portion of the housing for low-income versus moderate-income households. Originally, NOAH had proposed that 22 of the units would be reserved for households earning at or below 60% of the area media income (a.m.i.). In June they asked for a different mix – seven units at 60% a.m.i. and 19 at 100% a.m.i, in order to increase the financial viability of the project. The Housing Authority supported that ratio; however, others preferred a larger number of low-income units. NOAH responded and is once again offering to reserve 22 units at 60% and the rest at 100% a.m.i. All the units will count toward the town’s state-mandated affordable housing quota.∆

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