Rindge

Board OKs waivers for apartment construction

16 units of affordable housing coming to Route 119

  • The Rindge Planning Board approved a 16-apartment complex during its meeting on Tuesday night.
  • The Rindge Planning Board approved a 16-apartment complex during its meeting on Tuesday night.
  • The Rindge Planning Board approved a 16-apartment complex during its meeting on Tuesday night.
  • The Rindge Planning Board approved a 16-apartment complex during its meeting on Tuesday night.

RINDGE — During its Tuesday meeting, the Planning Board agreed to allow the construction of 16 two-bedroom apartments on Route 119. The board waived the town’s construction phasing ordinance, which would have required the project’s three buildings to be built over a period of several years.

The development is proposed to be built on a 40-acre parcel on Route 119 in Rindge, across the street from North Street and next to the Boss Contractor’s office. The construction of the buildings is to be concentrated onto an area of approximately one acre, to keep the development close to the highway.

According to the town’s ordinance, when an applicant is building between 10 and 20 dwelling units, the project must be phased over the course of four years, with no more than 25 percent of the units being constructed in one year.

Attorney Jim Callahan — who was presenting on behalf of Three Daughters LLC, of which Scott Honkala is the only listed member — told the board that because all three of the buildings would be built in close proximity, a long construction process would be disruptive to the tenants who might move into the first constructed units. It would also make financing the project “awkward and unusual,” he said.

And, as Roberta Oeser, the Select Board’s representative on the Planning Board had stated during previous meetings, there is a need for affordable housing in town, so long-term phasing might not be in the best interests of the town, either.

Planning Board Chair Hank Whitney agreed that it would be a hardship to build the apartments so close together over a multi-year time frame.

Previously, Ed Rogers, of Rogers Engineering Solutions, who was presenting the plans on behalf of Three Daughters, had indicated that the preference for the applicant would be to build all three buildings at once with no restrictions. However, if that was not possible, the applicant would be amenable to doing major construction such as foundations and walls and roofing, to make all apartments appear complete from the outside, and finishing the interior apartments and issuing occupancy permits over a longer period of time.

The board found this option to be the best compromise, and Oeser moved to allow the waiving of the construction phasing, but to restrict occupancy to six units in 2014, an additional six units in 2015, and the final four in 2016. The board voted unanimously in favor of the motion.

The town also modified a previous waiver granted to Three Daughters LLC earlier in the process. The waiver had reduced the landscape buffer separating the buildings from roads and abutting properties from 50 feet to 25 feet. That allowed the applicant to mow or landscape the 25 feet extending from the apartment buildings towards Route 119. The board modified that waiver during its Tuesday meeting to account for a request to allow the construction of 12-foot-by-16-foot patio spaces on the back of the apartments, and the construction of privacy walls between the units. The board clarified that of the 50 foot buffer, the 25 feet closest to Route 119 was to be maintained in its natural state, and that 25 feet would be allowed to be landscaped, with the allowance of up to 16 feet of patio and privacy walls. The board unanimously voted in favor of the modification.

The board also unanimously waived a requirement that the apartment complex create a homeowners association, as all units will be owned by a single entity. Should the development ever be converted to condominiums, a homeowners association will have to be formed.

Having granted those three waivers, the board then voted to approve the plans for the apartments.

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