Business, News

MassHousing extends deadline for 300-unit, 40B housing proposal

SAUGUS — MassHousing has extended the deadline for residents and business owners in Saugus to submit comments on a 300-unit, 40B housing development proposed for Route 1 North near Prankers Pond.

The Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency is currently reviewing a proposal for a 300-unit rental complex, submitted by Saugus Residential, LLC. The development would be called Saugus Ridge and would be located on a 28-acre parcel on Route 1 North.

The proposal includes two four-story buildings connected by an amenity area of offices, a mail room, a lounge, the leasing center, and a lobby. There will also be a courtyard, and possibly a pool.

Of the 300 proposed units, 100 would be one-bedroom, 36 would be one-bedroom with a den, 87 two-bedrooms, 17 two-bedrooms with a den, 31 three-bedroom units, and 29 studios.

The state’s 40B housing program allows developers to override local zoning bylaws to increase stock of affordable housing in municipalities where less than 10 percent of the homes are affordable. Towns that do not meet the required 10 percent can be subjected to developers who are allowed to override local zoning and build denser developments.

In 2015, the town rezoned Route 1 and created the Business Highway Sustainable Development District. The intent was to promote attractive, sustainable mixed-use developments. Under the zoning, developers are required to go through a multi-step process that includes meetings with town department heads and master plan and site plan reviews to obtain permitting.

The zoning gives officials greater say in the building design standards, including the height and density restrictions, materials used, and the style of the buildings.

Saugus Ridge would not be required to follow these zoning laws.

As part of the MassHousing review, an evaluation of the site, design concept, and financial feasibility of the proposal is conducted. Comments from community members are also solicited as part of the process.

Selectmen said they have already heard many concerns from residents, ranging from the safety of pedestrians going to and from the complex, to the amount of students it will bring to the public school district.

Debra Panetta, chairwoman of the Board of Selectmen, said her personal concerns include the environmental impact on Prankers Pond and the impact to the town’s water and sewer infrastructure, among others.

The comments should be submitted to either Town Manager Scott Crabtree’s office or to Town Planner Krista Leahy.

The deadline to submit comments was originally set for Monday, April 30 but was extended for two weeks to Monday, May 14.

More Stories From Saugus