40B development was opposed by neighbors; zoning was frozen, per Johnson
The Hanover Company has canceled its plan to purchase the property at 300 Ames Pond Drive and build a 300-unit 40B rental housing development on the site, according to Town Manager Richard Montuori.
The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Houston-based Hanover manages 6,000 units in 21 projects in Eastern Massachusetts, including the Lodge at Ames Pond in Tewksbury.
After initially proposing the 300 Ames Pond project as a Local Initiative Program, or “friendly 40B,” in August 2021 the company shifted to a standard 40B. In February 2022, that proposal was approved by MassHousing, which issued a project eligibility letter.
Cardigan Rd. residents had banded together to oppose the project, which also faced headwinds from higher costs for building materials. In addition, the census has not yet been formally certified; it’s possible that with the Residence Inn conversion and other ongoing projects, the town could be over its 10% affordability threshold.
And, Ames Pond contains a 210-foot dam that is considered a flooding risk per the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers: “Failure of the dam or dike would flood several homes and several roadways with the potential for the loss of more than a few lives. It is small in size with a hazard potential of high.”
Planning Board Chair Stephen Johnson said that the property froze the previous zoning prior to the new zoning bylaw.
“I would presume that the parcel could also be an ideal candidate for helping to satisfy the requirements of the new MBTA Zoning Law,” said Johnson.
“Not to mention the more important fact that it would have provided a substantial amount of affordable options for people, something that continues to be a desperate need locally, statewide, regionally and beyond,” he added. “There will likely be a tipping point if roadblocks continue to be put in the way of much-needed housing, and we may find that the wrecking ball will be more changes to the 40B law to remove those roadblocks.”