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Staff Writer

PEPPERELL — Selectmen are expecting to get their first look at a long-anticipated 56-unit development when developer Jayron Realty LLC begins the application process for a Local Initiative Program (LIP) endorsement. Under Chapter 40B, the state affordable housing laws, a LIP project has the cooperation of the town, in this case for Emerson Village at 196 Nashua Road.

Project manager Frank Bicchierii III of Hancock Associates asked to speak with the board in a June 13 letter to Selectmen Chairman Darrell Gilmore. The firm submitted 28 copies of the application and supplemental data.

A LIP project is one in which a developer works with municipal boards instead of taking the so-called “unfriendly 40B” approach of first gaining MassHousing approval then submitting an affordable project plan directly to the Zoning Board of Appeals for a comprehensive permit.

Emerson Village is the second LIP project to come forward since the Community Housing Plan, developed by the Affordable Housing Committee for selectmen, was accepted last year. The other is from developer Al Mariano for 28-30 Park Street.

The name “Emerson” strikes a chord with history-minded officials for it was the Rev. Joseph Emerson of Groton who, after fighting in the Battle of Louisbourg under Col. Sir William Pepperell, pushed to have Groton’s West Parish named after Pepperell in 1753.

Twenty-five percent, or 14 homes, will be classified as affordable and offered for sale through a lottery to households that earn less than 80 percent of the area’s median income (currently at $80,000).

Emerson Village is planned to use about one-third of the land Jayron purchased from David and Laura Alves in May, just before town meeting. Part of the land is in Hollis, N.H.

The purchase is something of a windfall for the town because the owner has agreed to give Pepperell, at no cost, the area in which the town had hoped to build a third municipal well. Negotiations between the town and the Alves had deteriorated to a standstill.

Part of that agreement had been for the town to build infrastructure to service an aborted housing development. The last price of record for the well site was $600,000. This year’s annual town meeting approved an expenditure of $200,000 to install water lines to the well site.

The aquifer lies in a Water Resource Protection Overlay District that voters at last year’s town meeting refused to remove despite the collapse of purchase negotiations. Part of the protection zone is in Hollis, whose meeting schedule differed from Pepperell’s and that served to further delay the original purchase.

Chapter 40B requires all Bay State communities to have 10 percent “affordable” housing, as defined by the state. Pepperell has just over 3 percent and needs approximately 371 affordable units to meet the requirement.

One affordable housing unit out of four planned for 131 Lowell Road, eight more from the Park Street LIP, plus 14 proposed on Nashua Road, is still far below the estimated 37 units that need to be built each year.

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