Senior Housing Project Eyed for Wenham, Hamilton-Wenham Patch, October, 17, 2013

Senior Housing Project Eyed for Wenham

An affordable housing project for residents 62-year-old is being considered for property off Maple Street in Wenham.

By Robert Gates (Patch Staff)Updated October 17, 2013 at 3:26 am

A North Shore-based nonprofit is eyeing the possibility of building an affordable housing project off Maple Street in Wenham for age 62 and up.

Harborlight Community Partners will be meeting with neighbors later this month to outline some of the basics of a possible project, according to Executive Director Andrew DeFranza.

“We’ve been looking at it for a while and doing some due diligence work,” he said.

The project would include a portion of the Burnett property, in the rear, DeFranza said. There is no final agreement with Burnett’s, which runs a car repair garage and Christmas tree farm.

Wenham is about 16 units short of meeting the requirement under the state’s Chapter 40B to have 10 percent of its housing designed as affordable housing. The project would help Wenham meet that requirement, he said.

“We would not be interested in a project that did not get Wenham to meet that goal,” DeFranza said.

The project would include “heavy-duty community involvement,” DeFranza said, comparing it to the process that led to the construction of four affordable housing units and a new home for Acord Food Pantry in Hamilton a few years ago.

DeFranza said Harborlight wanted neighbors to hear about the project directly from them, early-on in the process. No formal applications have been filed in connection to the project, DeFranza said.

The project under consideration would be similar to Turtle Woods in Beverly and Pigeon Cove Ledges in Rockport, DeFranza said. It would pay local property taxes, in line with Harborlight’s real estate tax policy, DeFranza said.

“This is consistent with our identity,” he said about what is being considered in Wenham.

The size, scale and scope of the project have not been determined, but DeFranza said plans call for it to consist of one-bedroom units with a requirement that the head of the household be 62-year-old or older.

Funding for the project would come from a combination of local, regional, state and federal sources, DeFranza said, noting, “we’ll need all four of those at some level.”