April 13 2016

Selectmen Give Developer Go Ahead to Submit 'Friendly 40B' Project to State

By: Rich Hosford

A “Friendly 40B” affordable housing project is one step closer to becoming a reality. 


The Board of Selectmen voted unanimously on Monday night to allow The Davis Companies to submit an application to the state for a 172-unit residential project in Burlington Corporate Center. 


“We thought the best thing to do right now is have them submit the site plan as is right now because the first step is to get approval from the state,” Chairman of the Board Dan Grattan said. He is also a member of the sub-committee working on the affordable housing proposal. 


Under Massachusetts law, a town must have at least10 percent affordable housing in order to meet the 40B requirement. If a town falls below 10 percent, it loses a lot of the power it has if a developer comes in and wants to build an affordable housing project. The biggest concern is that the town could lose a lot of the control it has as to where an affordable housing project might be built. 


Currently Burlington has 10.4 percent affordable housing though there is a fear the number will drop when the amount is re-evaluated during the 2020 Census. 


If a 40B project is at least 25 percent affordable units then the town can claim all of the units towards its percentage. 


Though the plan is being sent to the state, Grattan said the developer and the town still have a lot of details to work out, possibly including the total number of units and how many will be affordable. 


“We will begin working with the proponent on the details and what is appropriate and what is not,” he said. “What that means is when the state approves the site some of the details will change and need re-review from the state.


Selectman Mike Runyan, also a member of the affordable housing subcommittee, said there will be plenty of time for interested bodies and persons to have input in the project before final approval is given, or denied, by the Zoning Board of Appeals. 


“What we’re looking for tonight is for the chairman and town administrator to sign a letter to get this whole process started,” he said. “There will be ample opportunity for this board, other boards and the general public to weigh in.”

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