Winchester digs in against apartment complex

The Boston Globe | By Brenda J. Buote
October 9, 2016

A rocky 13-acre parcel that straddles the Winchester-Stoneham border is being eyed as the site for an affordable housing project, much to the dismay of neighbors who say the 296-unit complex would exacerbate traffic tie-ups and flooding.

Armed with spreadsheets and piles of documents, they are fighting the developer’s application to MassHousing, the state agency that oversees affordable housing projects.

“MassHousing is forcing us to spend our tax money to defend against a proposal that should never have been sent to the town for review, because it fails to meet the agency’s own guidelines,” said Elizabeth Fitzgerald, a homeowner on Forest Street near the site, referring to legal deficiencies and other issues.

That tax money is the 14th highest in the state, according to the Massachusetts Department of Revenue. The average tax bill for a single-family home in Winchester in fiscal 2016, which ended June 30, was $10,948, based on an average home value of $937,364.
“If this project goes forward, it will be a catastrophe,” Fitzgerald said. “They’ll be murdering neighborhoods.”

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