Mendon CPC funds granted for affordable housing sitework at 52 Providence StreetSep 12, 2023 08:23AM ● By Chuck Tashjian
By Theresa Knapp
At its meeting on Sept. 5, the Community Preservation Committee approved a funding request for $17,000 of CPA administrative funds to perform preliminary sitework on town-owned land at 52 Providence St.
Town Planner Jack Hunter said the intention is to help make the site more appealing to affordable housing companies to bid on the project.
He said the town recently had a Request for Proposals but no bids were submitted. After the process closed, Hunter, along with other town officials, debriefed with three of the interested firms which all expressed similar concerns.
“The unknown of the access road and getting the wetlands crossing (which would be necessary) permitted was something that they shied away from,” Hunter said. “And with the well site, we’re proposing a directional drill underneath the wetlands which is a very popular solution to not disturbing wetlands and still getting a line underneath to the site - they were hesitant. They don’t know how much these things are going to cost.”
Hunter further reported that, “They said, more or less, that if we could get some of this engineering done then all three of them said they would be active bidders…To get those [issues] permitted through the Conservation Commission, and obviously getting the access road completely designed - I know that will go a long way to making this a palatable site.”
Hunter also noted the project is designed as 44 units and a developer needs at least 40 units, to receive public funding from the state. He also said, based on funding cycles and requirements, construction would likely not begin until spring 2027.
CPC Chairperson Anne Mazar said the costs include $13,875 to do the engineering work for the wetlands crossing plus the wetlands habitat evaluation, and approximately $2,800 to do the test drilling holes for the directional drilling to connect the well to the site. The amount approved was $17,000.
CPC member Dan Byer was in support of the project.
“It’s not like there’s other competing things, we’ve got the money and this is what it’s for. I think, ultimately, this would be a good project if it could go through, we need housing.”