- Eventful selectman’s meeting included presentation by Hanover Company.
- The developer is looking to purchase the 300 Ames Pond property and build 324 apartment units.
- Cardigan Rd. residents showed up to voice opposition.
At the July 13 meeting, Tewksbury’s selectmen heard a presentation from The Hanover Company, a developer based in Houston with multiple properties in the Boston area. The company has an agreement in place to purchase the property at 300 Ames Pond Drive and plans a four-story, 324-unit residential rental community.
Hanover has developed almost 6,000 units in 21 projects in Eastern Massachusetts, including the Lodge at Ames Pond in Tewksbury.
Hanover is pursuing the 300 Ames Pond project as a Local Initiative Program — aka a “friendly 40B” — under Massachusetts’ Chapter 40B provisions. While the town is close to its required 10% affordable number, when the 2020 census numbers come in, the expectation is that Tewksbury will fall below that threshold and thus be subject to a 40B project. If constructed, Hanover says 25% of the units would be designated as affordable, and all units would count toward the town’s affordable inventory.
Selectman Jayne Wellman asked the representatives about public access to the pond in perpetuity, whether Hanover would assume responsibility for maintenance of the pond itself and several dams and how it will ensure safe access for school buses and said she’d seek input from law enforcement on how housing density affects public safety.
“The last question I have is about infrastructure and mitigation,” said Wellman. “This would be impacting our water and sewer infrastructure and our traffic.”
Wellman also asked about rents; market-rate units would average $2,500, while affordable units would be around $1,500, depending on bedrooms.
Selectman James Mackey concurred on the need to examine impacts on infrastructure, while Todd Johnson quizzed the Hanover reps on prior proposals for the parcel, which ranged up to 364 units, and on the order of permitting efforts that would include the Selectmen, the Planning Board and the Zoning Board of Appeals.
The Hanover spokesmen answered the queries and said the company is working on “significant buffering and setbacks” to minimize impacts on Cardigan Rd. properties. But residents in attendance said the efforts aren’t enough.
“We are so shortsighted,” said Cardigan Rd. resident Bob O’Brien, citing years of allowing fee-in-lieu of affordable units on multifamily developments across the town. “I want to go in the record that they [Hanover] are not in property management, they’re in property development. So they build an apartment unit and they say thank you for the brass ring of 40B subsidized housing and then they sell the property.”
Other speakers echoed O’Brien’s concerns around lowered property values in the area, an increase in noise, more demand on the town’s public safety and physical infrastructure and loss of natural habitat around Ames Pond.
“This is a very, very significant project for the community,” said Selectman Jay Kelly, who promised to continue listening as the process plays out. “We’re with you.”