WILMINGTON, MA — Spruce Farm, the 55-and-over condo development planned off of Andover Street, has broken ground.
The project will build 24 market-rate condo units ($609,000-$629,000) and 3 affordable-rate condo units ($214,000, with $87 monthly condo fee), restricted to owners 55 years of age and older. Wilmington residents will receive preference for 2 of the 3 affordable units. The project has a mix of singles and duplexes in one-and-a-half story buildings with one-car garages. Each unit has 1,680 square feet of of living area, with six rooms and 2.5 bathrooms.
At last week’s meeting, the Board of Selectmen unanimously signed the agreement and authorized that it be submitted to the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development.
Planning Director Valerie Gingrich and certified housing consultant Kristen Costa, of L.A. Associates, were present to answer questions from the Selectmen.
In response to Selectman Ed Loud’s concern that only 10% (3 out of 27) of the units were affordable, Gingrich explained the the town’s over 55 housing district language in its zoning bylaw requires just a 10% minimum. The developer, Stephen Wright, had an incentive — a density bonus of 10 units per acre — to raise that percentage to 25%, but opted to meet the minimum instead.
Loud also pointed out that the town was gaining very little towards its 10% affordable requirement for affordable housing, with the 3 new affordable units almost completely offset by the addition of 24 market-value units.
Loud also questioned why only 2 of the 3 affordable units had a Wilmington preference. Costa explained that under state regulations, only 70% of the affordable units can have a local preference. Costa also noted that it was still possible that the third unit could go to a Wilmington resident, based on the project’s housing lottery, which will be advertised through the town and local press.
Despite his concerns Loud joined his colleagues in supporting the project and the town’s efforts to encourage local developers to bring in more over-55 units and affordable units.
“This [project] increases the number of affordable units in town, so it sounds like a no brainer to me,” added Selectman Greg Bendel.
Get a better sense of the project from this short video from Jacquelyn Santini at RE/MAX Encore:
(NOTE: Cover photo from RE/MAX Encore video.)
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