TOWNSEND — The Zoning Board of Appeals has ruled that alterations to a low-income elderly housing project on Dudley Road are not substantial enough to create the need for new public hearings.
New architectural plans for Atwood Elder Housing Inc.’s Townsend Woods Project, submitted with a letter from Atwood’s attorney James L. Buechl, changed the frontal exterior, the shape of the roof and decreased the number of single-bedroom units to 36 by doing away with a two-bedroom manager’s apartment. Some of that space will now be an office.
Three of the single-bedroom units are designed for the visually handicapped and one is to be built to standards for the visually impaired.
Gone are large columns from the fascia. Different style windows are added and the building is lengthened to 23-by-13 feet, bringing it closer to the lot line.
Common areas originally located behind an elevator have been moved to the front corner of the building and replaced with support and service areas. A hip roof design has been changed to a gable roof with access from inside. Living units formerly placed above mechanical spaces and the boiler room have been relocated.
“It looks beautiful,” said board member Julie Johnson Tuesday night. “It’s an enhancement,” agreed colleague Anthony Genova.
The project, to be built on town-owned land, is a “friendly 40B” in which the town worked with the Department of Housing and Urban Development on the preliminary site development plan that first came before the ZBA last October.
“A three-month approval process is typical with HUD projects,” explained vice chairman Darlene Sodano.
The building is to be located behind an existing 50-unit low-income elderly facility, and all of the units will qualify as affordable housing for Townsend.
The town’s current stock of affordable housing is at 2.8 percent, and this will add substantially toward the state-mandated 10 percent affordable-housing goal. Two other projects, Turnpike Village and Coppersmith, are in the works, board members said.
In a unanimous vote, minus absent Chairman William Cadogan, the ZBA agreed with Buechl that the changes represent less than a 10-percent alteration and are thus determined to be insubstantial.
In other business, members voted to reappoint associate members Kelly Chambers and John Giunta for one-year terms, and to reappoint full voting member Craig Stevens to a five-year post.
They tabled discussion of draft revisions to the town’s 40B regulations, and noted receipt of a Montachusett Regional Planning Commission survey that has been sent to all municipal departments.