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In the News

In the News

So. Berwick council meets with Avesta on senior housing plan


A proposed Young Street housing complex for the elderly would require a zoning change to allow more residential units per building, officials determined Tuesday at a workshop with Avesta Housing.

news@seacoastonline.com
By Ruth Baker
January 19, 2012 2:00 AM

SOUTH BERWICK, Maine — A proposed Young Street housing complex for the elderly would require a zoning change to allow more residential units per building, officials determined Tuesday at a workshop with Avesta Housing.

The Town Council met with representatives of the nonprofit organization to discuss plans for the balance of a 2.5-acre town-owned property that now holds the new South Berwick Public Library and a parking lot. Approximately three-quarters of an acre is available for development on the site.

Current zoning allows only six residential units per building in the area, according to town officials. Avesta's proposal is for a three-story, 24-unit complex.

Deb Keller of Avesta said an income limitation of $32,000 for singles or $36,000 for couples would be imposed, although assets would not be taken into consideration. Based on a needs analysis conducted by Avesta, the complex would be "predominantly one-bedroom, with a couple two-bedroom units," she said, estimating the average rent would be $600 to $700 per month.

"We don't expect to have any issues in getting full occupancy," she said.

Councilor David Burke reminded everyone at the meeting that "Avesta didn't appear out of nowhere."

It was one of several companies to respond to a request for qualifications put forth by the Building Committee last year. The agency rose to the top in the selection process. Avesta representatives attended an open meeting last April to present its vision to the general public, but nothing has coalesced since then.

Town Manager Perry Ellsworth said he'd first wanted to tackle the conversion of the former St. Michael's Catholic Church on Young Street into the new library, freeing up his time to look at "usage of the rest of the Young Street property."

Keller and fellow Avesta representative Matt Peters gave a synopsis of their April presentation. Keller said Avesta has familiarized itself with the town and sought "input from investors, community members and other stakeholders."

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