In a public hearing Tuesday night, developers of a proposed affordable housing apartment complex along Route 20 met with the Zoning Board of Appeals to hear officials and residents' concerns.
“Brookview Village” would include 243 rental units on an 18.73 acre plot of land along Route 20 near Ames Street. The developers would be using previously designated industrial land for a residential use—a choice made because there is much larger demand for places to live with a much smaller supply, said Arthur Bergeron, legal representative for the Gutierrez Company.
This development is “only sucessful if it’s really part of the community,” said Ted Doyle, a spokesman for the Gutierrez Company, adding that concern “is a normal parameter for these kinds of projects.”
This is “an ideal location," Bergeron said. As of Tuesday night, the developers were proposing six waivers from local building regulations to continue with the project.
Fire safety and the continued preservation of the area around the proposed development were among concerns expressed by meeting attendees. Resident Ron Bucchino said the plans had not considered all environmental impacts, adding that a second opinion should be brought in to review preservation issues before a decision was made.
One industrial business in the area of the proposed complex said building a residential complex in a legally designated industrial area would be a nuisance to both residents and workers in the area.
John Pears, the architect of Brookview Village, presented plans for the development, including floor plans of the studio and one, two and three bedrooms apartments, the parking areas and front and rear views of the buildings. The development aims to minimize encroaching upon both established residents and nearby tenants and upon the land itself, using a natural hill in the space to help build to the desired five stories and keep existing landscape as a boundary to nearby houses. “We will try to excavate as little as possible so as not to disturb trees,” he said.
With many adjustments to be made before a decision can be reached, the board should prioritize what they want to see at the next meeting, said Matt Elder, city councilor. Elder voiced his opposition to the project and added that he would try to gather more residents to show the widespread criticism of the project.
The public hearing will continue Sept. 4.