Davis Company, Friendly 40B, Burlington Center, Housing Development, Apartments

 September 2 2015

'Friendly 40B' Discussion Pushed to December

By: Rich Hosford

Discussions over a “Friendly 40B” affordable housing complex will commence, but not quite yet. 


As we had reported earlier, the Davis Companies was before the Planning Board recently where it proposed they begin talks with the board, and the Board of Selectmen, about building a 40B apartment complex, meaning that at least 25 percent of the units would be Affordable Housing. 


This project would be in the Burlington Center office park, where previously the company had discussed going to Town Meeting to get a change to its planned development district zoning to allow an apartment complex with up to 300 units. The affordable housing proposal supersedes the other project, though the company may still seek up to 300 units. 


Members of the Planning Board expressed interest in the discussion because under Massachusetts law, a town must have at least 10 percent affordable housing in order to meet the 40B requirement. If a town falls below that amount, it loses a lot of the power it has if a developer comes in and wants to build an affordable housing project. 


A “Friendly 40B” development means the developer, in this case the Davis Companies, would work with the town to plan a housing project that both sides agree upon


Currently Burlington has 10.2 percent affordable housing. 


At the meeting in late August, Attorney Robert Buckley of Riemer & Braunstein, representing the Davis Company, asked that the discussions be continued until the Dec. 3 meeting, a proposal approved by the board.


Buckley also said he had heard an interest in senior affordable housing in the 40B project and relayed that was something the Davis Company would consider. He said it is possible to have local-preference senior housing if a market study shows it’s needed. 


Finally, Buckley spoke to abutter’s concerns over a retail development in the project, something allowed in the PDD. Neighbors said they thought this would bring in heavy traffic to an already congested area. 


He said there are no plans to build a destination retail location and that the original language was for small businesses that would cater to the office workers at the site, such as a dry cleaner. 

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