Hingham affordable housing proposal revised

Patriot Ledger | By Carol Britton Meyer
October 20, 2016

HINGHAM – The proposal for the Broadstone Bare Cove affordable housing development at 230 Beal St. has been revised in response to comments from town officials and neighbors.

“We listened to everyone’s concerns,” said Jeffrey Tocchio, attorney for the developer, Alliance Residential Co. of Boston.

Changes include a reduction in units from 300 to 220, subsurface parking instead of a wrap around parking garage, and a right-turn-only onto Beal Street to discourage cut-through traffic at Lincoln Plaza and encourage use of nearby William B. Terry Drive to reach Route 3A instead.

Under the state’s affordable-housing law, known as Chapter 40B, if communities do not meet the state-mandated minimum of affordable housing units – 10 percent – then developers can skirt a significant number of local regulations in exchange for set-asides of below-market-rate housing, usually about 25 percent of the total. In this case, there would be 55 under the scaled-back proposal.

The issue is complicated because the town is waiting to hear from the state Department of Housing and Community Development on whether it can claim “safe harbor” – in this case because the zoning board recently approved the 190-unit 40B Avalon II at the Shipyard. That would give the town a grace period until May 17, 2017, during which it would not have to consider any 40B projects that were not filed before the “safe harbor” designation was in place.

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