Sippican Woods developer seeks funding for 3 affordable homes

By Tyler A. McNeil | Jun 11, 2018
Photo by: Tyler A. McNeil Affordable housing in Marion is provided at Marion Village Estates and some properties in Sippican Woods, both developed by Baywatch Realty.

Marion — The developer of Sippican Woods seeks $150,000 in Community Preservation funding to offset the costs of three affordable single-family homes at the property.

The funding would increase the number of affordable homes slated for the subdivision from nine to 12. The town's Affordable Housing Trust Board on Monday gave its nod to the proposal, presented by Steen Realty.

Ultimately, Town Meeting must approve any use of Community Preservation Act money, which is generated through a property tax subsidy and can only be used to fund affordable housing, recreation, open space, or historical preservation projects.

Located off of Front Street, Sippican Woods is adjacent to Marion Village Estates, the two-building, 60-unit affordable apartment complex also developed by Steen Realty, previously known as Baywatch Realty. Construction on the apartments was completed in 2015.

The subdivision of single-family homes includes plans for 36 houses, two-thirds of which will be sold at market rates. A number of the homes are currently built, with others still under construction.

Buyers must meet state-prescribed income requirements determined by the area's median income in order to qualify to purchase the affordable homes.

The project was made possible in part by the state regulation known as 40B, which allows developers to bypass local zoning restrictions if a percentage of homes are sold or rented at below-market costs. Developers can benefit from the regulation in all communities in which a minimum of 10 percent of the total housing stock is not deemed "affordable" according to the state's definition.

Some officials and residents were concerned about potential nuisances when the project was proposed, but Jon Henry of the Affordable Housing Trust Board said Monday that the problems did not come to pass.

"All the dire predictions about traffic and noise just hasn't happened," Henry said. "You don't even know they're up there."

Sippican Week could not immediately reach Steen Development representatives for comment.

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