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Developer wants to revive plan for affordable condos

PUBLISHED: | UPDATED:

TOWNSEND — A developer who never used the comprehensive permit he received three years ago to build a 45-unit affordable-housing development on Turnpike Road is now seeking to revive the project as rental units.

Turnpike Village LLC, led by manager Gary Lorden, in March 2007 was granted permission under the state’s 40B housing law to build 45 two-bedroom, single-family, detached condominiums, including 13 affordable units, on Turnpike Road across from Rossbach Farm.

The Zoning Board of Appeals this week will discuss the project and decide whether the project’s change from owned to rented units will require a public hearing.

Karen Chapman, administrative assistant for the ZBA, said state law requires a new public hearing when a project undergoes a substantial change. She also said that under 40B, all of the units in a rental project must be affordable.

The board has 20 days from the time it received the written request Aug. 16 from Turnpike Village to decide whether the request would be a substantial change.

According to plans on file in the ZBA’s office, the lots are planned as various sizes under a half-acre.

Townsend has a right-to-farm bylaw, and the comprehensive permit recognizes the nearby farm.

“The applicant acknowledges the town’s only working dairy farm is located across Turnpike Road from the project,” according to the permit. “The applicant agrees to include notice of the agricultural use and the attendant odors in the master deed and the unit deed.”

The state requires that 10 percent of housing stock be affordable housing.

“According to the state, we are at 4 percent,” Town Administrator Andrew Sheehan said.

Affordable housing describes a home that is affordable for a four-person family that earns 80 percent of the median income, which, in the metropolitan Boston statistical area, was $64,400 in fiscal 2010, Chapman said.

— Jack Minch