120 new apartments planned for Somerset; some Chapter 40B

SOMERSET – The next phase of the Fairfield Commons development on Route 6 would bring more than 100 new apartments to the town, including dozens of affordable units.

“All of this would be tied to the development we have now,” Marc Landry, the project’s developer, told elected officials at their June 8 meeting.

Landry has already recently developed land on Highway 6/Grand Army of the Republic Highway to include a hotel and several businesses including Starbucks, Jersey Mike’s and a Mexican restaurant slated to open this summer.

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Now he is looking to continue his work in the area by adding a luxury apartment complex which would comprise 120 units spread over two buildings, both four stories tall.

Recent upgrades to Route 6 that added sidewalks would make it an especially convenient place to live, Landry said.

“Everything you would need is really within walking distance,” he said.

The apartments would be mainly one-bedroom apartments, 66 of them, with 42 two-bedroom apartments and 12 three-bedroom units.

And, 25% of new housing would be designated “affordable,” with rent that would not require a household that brings in 80% of the region’s median income to spend more than 30% of its income on housing.

“So it’s really designed for people who want to downsize, people who may not need a home anymore, people who are empty nests, people who are just starting out,” Landry said. .

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What does 40B mean

The apartments would be built under Chapter 40B, a part of Massachusetts law that allows developers to circumvent certain zoning rules if a town or city fails to meet the requirement that 10% of its homes be considered affordable according to local income. According to 2020 data from the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development, Somerset is at 3.7% affordable housing. Data from the US Department of Housing and Urban Development indicates that the median income for the Somerset area for this year is $97,600.

Selectmen Jacob Vaught that Landry wouldn’t have to use 40B to be allowed to go ahead with the project, calling him a “good steward” who cultivated a lot of goodwill in town through his previous work.

“You can make a lot more money if you go for regular flats, and I think with your track record we would approve of that as well. So the fact that you’re going 40B, to me, indicates you’re ready for us help a lot,” he told Landry.

The next steps

Peter Freeman of Freeman Law Group LLC, which is working on the development, said the next steps are to add more details to the plans for the new buildings and get back to selectors for official approval, which is likely to happen in the future. next month or two.

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Board Chairman Allen Smith stressed that project managers should be wary of increased traffic at the intersection where Development Driveway meets Route 6. But he praised the project as a whole, saying plans to bring commuter rail to Somerset make it particularly important. add more affordable housing.

“I think it does it in a place that makes sense for the city and with a developer that just did a great job here in the city,” he said.

Audrey Cooney can be contacted at [email protected] Support local journalism by purchasing a digital or print subscription to The Herald News today.

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