May 10, 2016
By Colin Ellis
FALMOUTH — Town councilors on Monday night spent most of their time discussing three housing development projects, two of which are aimed at senior citizens.
The council scheduled a May 23 public hearing on creating a new Retirement Community Overlay District to allow Avesta Housing to expand Blackstone apartments off Depot Road.
Councilors also voted unanimously to allow housing for older persons in the Elementary School Redevelopment District for an OceanView retirement community project.
Finally, the council heard a presentation from Princeton Properties about a proposed expansion of the Foreside Estates apartment complex on Clearwater Drive.
Portland-based Avesta is proposing a renovation and expansion project for affordable senior housing at 21 Squidere Lane.
The organization has 20 apartments to rehab, and has proposed building 19 additional units, for a total of 39 units for low-income elderly residents whose income is below 60 percent of the area median income.
Avesta Development Officer Drew Wing said people and “… one of their most basic needs” are at the heart of the request.
“This is an incredible opportunity for Falmouth to create this level of affordability,” Wing said.
The new building would be two stories tall, with 17 one-bedroom units and two, two-bedroom units. Avesta is proposing a maximum of one parking space per unit, for a total of 39.
The limit on parking caused some concern among councilors, who felt it would hinder the Planning Board’s ability to request more parking during a site plan review. However, councilors ultimately agreed to schedule the order for May 23.
“Conceptually this is a project worth supporting,” Councilor Claudia King said.
Councilors unanimously approved amending the code of ordinances to allow housing for older persons in the ESRD, sought by OceanView for the former Plummer School complex on Lunt Road.
OceanView purchased the property in 2012, and is working to turn the school into 34 units of senior housing.
At previous council meetings, OceanView indicated it intends to keep an estimated 16 of the 34 units affordable for residents earning no more than 120 percent of the area median income.
OceanView was seeking three revisions for the district: adding appropriate dates for approving the district, clarification of permissible uses in the ESRD, and elimination of the minimum dwelling size of 600 square feet, since some units would be smaller to increase affordability.
Councilors voted to amend the Dec. 2, 2015, development agreement between the town and OceanView to include a parking exchange, some easements, and making the affordable housing covenants permanent.
Originally, the units would have remained affordable for only 30 years.
Princeton Properties, which manages the 170-unit Foreside Estates on Clearwater Drive, is seeking to create an additional 72 units in three planned buildings.
Attorney Dennis Keeler said the expansion “fits well” within the town’s Comprehensive Plan, as it would create more housing in the residential growth area.
The project would require a zoning amendment.
Dan Endyke, senior vice president of acquisitions and development at Princeton Properties, said plans are at the conceptual stage. He said the new buildings would be no taller than four stories, with 24 units per building.
Rent for the two-bedroom units would be “in excess of $2,000 a month,” Endyke said. Princeton is proposing to include about 1.5 parking spaces per unit.
Endyke said Princeton had attempted to get secondary access to U.S. Route 1 by working with businesses to get a connecting road, but was unable to. Despite this, councilors were generally receptive to the expansion plan.
Council Vice Chairman Russell Anderson said he thought it was “a terrific idea, conceptually.”
Going forward, Princeton Properties will work with town staff on a zoning amendment proposal for the project.