Homes are where the hearts are in Nahant

March 3, 2017

ITEM FILE PHOTO
Pictured is the Coast Guard housing on Goddard Drive in Nahant.

By ADAM SWIFT

NAHANT Selectmen want to give the people what they want when it comes to the 12 Coast Guard housing units at Castle Road and Chalgren Drive.

The 12 units will be sold individually, with the final development and sale details worked out by the town’s planning board, if a warrant article proposed by selectmen for the April Town Meeting passes. The warrant article reflects the results of a recent townwide survey, according to selectman Enzo Barile.

Of the approximately 625 responses, 469 residents indicated that they would like to see the 12 homes sold as individual units, while 61 said they wanted to see the property sold to a developer and another 80 wanted the nearly four-acre property subdivided into smaller lots.

“It’s pretty clear what the survey intent was, and it came back for selling as 12 individual units,” said Barile.

The article submitted by selectmen will reflect that intent, with the final language for the warrant being prepared for the board’s next meeting on Thursday, March 16.

In large part, who will be eligible to purchase the units will be decided after the Town Meeting vote by the Planning Board.

Still, selectmen Chairman Richard Lombard said selectmen should be ready for questions about the article on Town Meeting floor.

“Say the 12-unit article passes, who will have first choice?” Lombard asked, noting that list could include residents, veterans and low-income or first-time homebuyers. “All that has to be planned out.”

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Town Administrator Jeffrey Chelgren said it’s likely that many of those questions will be addressed in the final language of the warrant article.

A Special Town Meeting in 2016 proposed a new Bass Point Overlay District that would allow multi-family construction, but the article did not pass. If it had been approved, it would have allowed for eight single-family homes and a 20-unit condominium building to be built on the lot.

Earlier last year, the town tried to sell the property to a developer, but did not receive enough bids to warrant a sale. The intent of the zoning change was to make the property more desirable for potential developers, Chelgren said earlier this year.

Nahant purchased the property at Castle Road and Goddard Drive from the U.S. government for $2.1 million in 2004. The 12 existing homes date back to World War II when they were used to house soldiers who worked at a nearby bunker. Today they are leased to tenants. The parcels exist on one large lot of approximately four acres.

Barile said he would like to see a final resolution to the Coast Guard housing issue.

“We don’t want this to get so convoluted,” he said. “It’s been 10 years, and we need to get it done.”