ZBA Considers Affordable Project on Williams Street

A 20-unit affordable housing development consisting of all one-bedroom condominium units that was first approved nearly two years ago is back before the city’s Zoning and Planning boards.

Mikael Vienneau of Broadway Capital Development is seeking a special permit and variances to demolish an existing structure and combine lots at 146, 150, and 156 Williams St. and 65 Pine St. for the development, which will feature an inner courtyard, 20 parking spaces, and will be two-stories high.

“This case came before the Zoning Board about a year-and-a-half, two years ago, and since then, we’ve really been trying to get our finances in order to make this project a reality,” said Vienneau. “This project is in the R-1 zoning district, and our proposal is to create 20 affordable owner/occupied condo units. So this is not a rental property, this is strictly 20 affordable condos.”

The proposed affordability level would have three units offered at 60 percent of AMI (Area Median Income), nine at 80 percent AMI, and eight at 100 percent AMI, according to Vienneau.

Vienneau said the affordability levels are a minor change from what was approved by the ZBA in early 2022. However, he said the design of the building has not changed from the original approvals.

“A lot of this was trying to get the finances in order to make this project a reality,” he said. “We do have to seek grants from MassHousing, so we had to tweak our numbers. As you know, construction costs have increased, so this has been quite a challenge to get this project to this point in that time.”

If the project passes the latest round of zoning and planning approvals, the goal is to start construction next February or March, Vienneau said.

Roy Blum of Beacon Street read a letter from a number of residents in the neighborhood who oppose the project.

Blum said he and the neighbors have many of the same concerns they raised about the project back in 2021, including traffic congestion, parking, trash disposal, and the size of the project.

“We strongly maintain that this area is unsuitable for a multi-unit residential building,” said Blum.

The project will be before the Planning Board on Nov. 28 before coming back to the ZBA on Dec. 12. Residents will have the opportunity to speak on the project at both of those meetings.

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