New 40B development in Reading

Its time to weigh in on a 60 unit 40B project on North Main St, Reading. Check the ZBA schedule for a hearing date.

Have you heard about the 60 unit 40B proposed to be sandwiched between the Matera Cabin and Fairbanks Marsh? And that an access is being considered through the Town of Reading owned cabin property?

This is an inappropriate location for such a project. It abuts not only the cabin property but also Bare Meadow conservation area and the Reading Open Land Trust parcel to the North.

Can the schools take the added pupils? Can the Fire Dept safely access this property in case of an emergency? How will the pumped sewage be handled during the 40 hour power outages we have had in this area of town?

A new traffic light is proposed at the bottom of Sanborn hill, where site lines are poor.

Haven't we made enough progress on the affordable housing front already?

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Will Finch February 08, 2013 at 01:30 AM
There are wetlands just to the North of the proposed 40B and their plans do not comply with the local bylaw. The ZBA can require them to comply. The 40B at Sumner Cheney Place, less than 1/2 a mile South on Main did comply with Cons Com requests. Sumner Cheney has a density of around 8 units per acre vs. 17 units per acre for this new proposal.
Will Finch February 08, 2013 at 01:36 AM
A developer can't force the Town to do anything. The 40B process is one of give and take based on input by all interested parties. I am not against the concept of affordable housing but it has to be done in a manner sensitive to local concerns such as density, safety,impact on wetlands and character of the neighborhood.
Nikki February 08, 2013 at 02:28 AM
Thank you for this information, Will. Sumner Cheney has always looked "crowded" and out of place, and this proposed construction will be twice the density?? Hopefully, like you said, the ZBA can justify denying a permit. I am going to go over to the Matera cabin and take a look around and then call...who? Town Manager?
marie February 08, 2013 at 04:21 AM
Geez, I just moved bought a house and moved here and I just keep hearing complaints from people. Taxes too high, Not enough room in the schools, paying for full day kindergarten, now affordable housing?? If you want affordable housing move to a town that doesn't cost as much!!!! I didn't move here for that.
Readingite February 08, 2013 at 02:20 PM
What's wrong with affordable housing?
Reason February 09, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Nothing is wrong with affordable house, but 40B ties the hands of the town to determine what is reasonable development. Case in point is here, since the owner has declared 40B the town is limited in opposing it. Even if it is next to the Matera Cabin and lands. That the town spent big bucks only a few years ago acquiring this property for the good of the town and the enjoyment of all and now it will be ruined by a housing development. Insane. Once the land is gone, the land is gone. Heads up as well, the owners of Eric's Greenhouse is planning to put a large nursing home facility on the location.
M February 09, 2013 at 10:53 AM
Would be nice if the assisted living facility going there could count towards the affordable housing totals. The reason we keep getting 40B proposals is because we are not at the 10% affordability threshold yet (meaning 10% of housing stock must be deemed "affordable" - very few towns can meet this std). Per this article we are at 7.15% http://reading.patch.com/articles/board-of-selectmen-talk-town-meeting-affordable-housing I can't believe with the HUNDREDS of new units we've added over the past 7 years (Reading Commons/Archstone, Reading Woods, Sumner Cheney, All the units above Atlantic, etc) that we haven't yet met the std, but there it is.
Bruno Tataglia February 11, 2013 at 04:20 PM
Affordable housing is dangerous. Can't afford in Reading?, buy in malden. Why do you have an absolute right to live in ANY town because you can't afford it? I moved to Reading because the people I don't want to live next to can't afford it. Simple.
CB February 11, 2013 at 05:20 PM
I agree, every year town leaders make more and more decisions that seem to go against the will and best interest of the town.
M February 11, 2013 at 06:08 PM
I agree 100% - how can you say you have the right to live anywhere regardless of cost? I would have loved to buy in Concord or Winchester, but for the money we could spend we'd be talking a falling-apart 2br 1 ba cottage with railroad tracks in the yard. In Reading, I got a 4br 2ba home in good condition, but 25 yrs old. If I'd chosen Billerica, I would've gotten a brand new 3000 sq foot home. Real life means tradeoffs and finding what you can afford, not making an entire community's character/quality/density change so that you can afford to live there.
M February 11, 2013 at 06:20 PM
One more thing about 40b that is perplexing is that it doesn't even really measure true affordability - if there are units available already in town at an "affordable" price, they still don't count as "affordable" unless they have a Deed Restriction to keep them "affordable" for at least 30 years. What happens also is that units built expressly as affordable years ago (i.e., under Ch 40b, which has been in place more than 30 years) do eventually end their deed restriction period and then automatically count as market rate, regardless of price. So towns that build all these dense 40b developments, reach 10% affordable etc., will never escape continual 40b density unless the deed restrictions last forever. Reading should insist on this, or else not too far in the future, all these units will, year by year, suddenly turn from affordable into market rate, regardless of the actual value/price of the unit, so the town must start all over again.
Readingite February 11, 2013 at 10:07 PM
So because people don't have a certain amount of money makes the undesirable to live next to?
Readinggrad1986 February 11, 2013 at 10:21 PM
Would be nice to move back home to my home town of Reading. I moved out 9 years ago because I was sick of having to rent in the green street project area and the one building next to the electric company. I had to move to Peabody in order to get a decent place to live. I'm a disabled woman that was driven out of my town by the lack of landlords willing to rent to someone on low income housing. Yes, since the current private landlords in Reading refuse to rent to people like me.....we need these buildings. YUP!
Will Finch February 12, 2013 at 02:51 AM
The ZBA can and should require the maximum percentage of affordable units (25% I think per developement) and keep them affordable in perpetuity.
Tom Jeffords February 12, 2013 at 04:10 PM
Would be nice to move back home to my home town of Reading. "You can't always get what you want". - Mick Jagger
Readinggrad1986 February 14, 2013 at 04:26 AM
I would imagine that those private landlords that refused to rent to someone like me now have trouble renting those units. Everyone prefers to live in a brand new construction rather than an old rickety loud hardwood floor apt anyhow :) So what goes around certainly comes around.
Bruno Tataglia February 14, 2013 at 05:46 PM
Do you shop at Whole Foods or Market Masket? Answer, you shop where you can afford to shop. You think I can go into Whole Foods and say, hey this prime rib roast is $100. I can't afford it and its not fair that the guy behind me can. So you must sell it to me for $35. That's just crazy, right? Exactly! Can't afford Whole Foods, shop at Market Basket. Can't afford Reading? Move to Malden.
Readinggrad1986 February 16, 2013 at 06:39 PM
Actually I can rent a 1 br apt up to 1300- a month. That is way more than most 1 bedrooms in Reading. It's not the COST that kept me from Reading. It was the LANDLORDS that were discriminating against me. DO you understand that?
Readinggrad1986 February 16, 2013 at 07:02 PM
Also....I shop at both Whole Foods & Market Basket. I can afford to. You seem to think that low income housing means cheaper rents for the landlord to collect. That is incorrect. In most cases they can charge more for rent because HUD pays more than a regular tenant would.
Rob February 16, 2013 at 08:02 PM
Hey Readinggrad1986 - if you can't find a good place to rent, then buy a house. If you can't afford a house in Reading, buy one somewhere else. People don't have a "right" to live in Reading if they can't afford it.
Rob February 16, 2013 at 08:03 PM
Readingite - yes, it generally does make them less desireable to live next to. Obviously you've lived a sheltered life if you can't see that.
Bruno Tataglia February 16, 2013 at 08:26 PM
I don't care if HUD pays. The fact that you yourself can't afford to pay on your own is why you should live somewhere else. I'd love to live in Weston, but I can't afford it. I'm not going to ask someone to pay for it either.
Readinggrad1986 February 16, 2013 at 08:27 PM
LOL The housing authority does not buy low income housing recipients houses.
Readinggrad1986 February 16, 2013 at 08:44 PM
I hope you don't ever have a disabled child. But Karma seems to go around to the people that deserve it.
Will Finch February 16, 2013 at 10:46 PM
Don't forget that the 40 B regs are state law. We need to negotiate the best deal we can get in terms of density and character.
Readingite February 16, 2013 at 11:13 PM
Rob I feel like you are the sheltered closed minded one.
ReadingResident February 26, 2013 at 01:58 AM
Some of these comments make me literally sick to my stomach! I can only wish that none of you ever fall on hard times, and turn into someone that just may need a little help getting by. These comments make me embarrassed to be a life-long Reading resident. I thought the people of Reading were much more compassionate than what I am reading. I hope that everything continues to go well for all of you!!
Beefstick February 26, 2013 at 02:16 AM
Wrong. Reading isn't immune, just like it isn't immune to drugs in our schools, burglaries, homicides. Every town is the same. You really can't escape it. T.I.A. This is America. Not saying it isn't unfortunate, just stating the facts, mam.
Will Finch February 27, 2013 at 01:41 AM
The people of Reading in general are very compassionate. Don't take the comments personally. I usually avoid this forum as it can goes off topic. but this is an important issue to discuss. So far no news on a ZBA hearing. Also, Cons Com can not look at wetlands issues till spring. Stay tuned.
Stephen Gordon October 14, 2013 at 01:18 PM
As of now Reading has met 7.4% of the required 10% of affordable housing required by 40B. There is in my view a problem with the way that housing units are counted. They do not count any units that are permitted or constructed but not yet occupied. If these units are counted, towns would no longer be compelled to approve projects after it has approved enough to satisfy 40B. If you believe that approved-yet-unoccupied homes should count towards a town's subsidized housing inventory, please take a minute and sign this petition: http://chn.ge/1fx96gR


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