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TOWNSEND — Rental apartments in Townsend can be hard to find. Turnpike Village will help fill the demand.

During the housing boom, apartment complexes were turned into condominiums. Big houses were in demand. But once the housing decline began, peoples’ needs changed.

A housing development planned for Turnpike Road on a 12.5-acre lot was taken off the table.

“We had 45 two-bedroom homes approved,” said developer Gary Lorden of Benjamin Builders. “You couldn’t even sell a three-bedroom home.”

Instead, the developer opted to build Turnpike Village, a rental community. Two buildings, each with 24 apartments, are on the same lot.

The first building opened in May, and the apartments were rented out within 30 days, said Heidi Lorden, Gary’s wife.

The second building, also with 24 apartments, is slated to open in January.

“There’s plenty of green space,” Gary Lorden said. “It’s a nice, rural setting.”

Turnpike Village includes one- and two-bedroom units that are rented below market rate. Of the 48 units, 12 are, or will be, rented out to individuals and families who meet income guidelines for affordable housing as set by the federal government.

The rates are based on market prices on the Metropolitan Statistical Area that includes Boston, said Karen Chapman, the land-use agent for Townsend.

One-bedroom units, approximately 880 square feet, will rent for $825. The two-bedroom units, approximately 1,025 square feet, will rent for $1,025 per month at market value. The affordable units are $737 and $919, respectively.

Tenants will pay for hot water, gas heat and electricity. The apartments have granite and tile in the bathroom and kitchen. Garage space can be rented separately.

A 40B development benefits both the developer and the town, Gary Lorden said.

The developer can fit more units on a lot when building a 40B project. “Under the conventional zoning, the lot could have had four or five houses,” he said.

Ten percent of each municipality’s housing stock is supposed to be affordable housing, according to guidelines from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development. Because the property is rental units, even though only 12 apartments are classified as affordable, all 48 count toward Townsend’s number of qualifying units.

Based on the 2010 census, Townsend is supposed to have 336 affordable units, Chapman said. Including the 48 apartments at Turnpike Village, the town has 134 affordable rental units and 40 affordable owner-occupied units.

She did not know of any penalties for not achieving the goal or benefits if the town does achieve the goal. The town does need more over-55 housing, she said.

MCO Housing Services is accepting lottery applications for the affordable units in the second building until Nov. 28. The firm will hold a public information meeting Thursday, Oct. 30, at 6:30 p.m. in Unit 101, Turnpike Village, 72 Turnpike Road.

After MCO determines eligibility, Mass Ave. Rentals will review the applications, Heidi Lorden said.

The lottery will be held Monday, Dec. 8, at Unit 101 at Turnpike Village.

An application for the lottery and flier that lists income guidelines is available on townsend.ma.us.

Mass Ave. Rentals, owned by the Lordens, will rent the units and manage the buildings. They also manage and own buildings in the surrounding communities.

Mass Ave. Rentals can be reached by phone at 978-343-9500.

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