Developer Seeks Relief From Having To Pay Community Improvement Trust Fund Fees

The city administration is in support of a request by a developer to increase the affordability of a previously approved 20-unit condominium development in exchange for waiving a payment to the city’s community improvement trust fund.

Mikael Vienneau of Broadway Capital Development was before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Tuesday night to make the request for his development at 146-156 Williams St. and 65 Pine St. 

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino spoke in favor of the request, but because it is considered a major modification to a previously approved variance, the ZBA is holding a public hearing on the request at its July 12 meeting.

In exchange for waiving the community improvement trust fund fee, Vienneau said the 17 market rate condominiums would be offered at 100 percent of Area Median Income (AMI) instead of the previously approved 120 percent AMI, and the three affordable units would be lowered from 80 percent to 60 percent AMI.

“While doing this, we are emphasizing the fact that these are going to be owner-occupied condominium units,” said Vienneau. “That was part of the original decision to have them as condominiums, we want to solidify that, but also ask for the waiver for the community improvement trust fund.”

Ambrosino said the request by Vienneau will help the city increase the number of affordable home ownership opportunities for its residents.

By getting approval of the waiver, Ambrosino said the developer will also be eligible for the Commonwealth Builders Program and will be able to access some financial support from MassHousing.

“We accomplish a couple of important goals and we ensure that the affordability of these condominium units is lower than was originally approved by the (zoning) board, and that has a community benefit,” said Ambrosino. “A condition of the city’s assent to this, however, is that we do want written as an express condition of any change from condo to rental would be a major modification and would require the applicant to come before the board for relief.”

In other business, the ZBA considered special permits for Margelin Gace to demolish a three-unit structure at 275 Washington Avenue and replace it with a six-unit building.

That proposal will be before the Planning Board later this month, and back before the ZBA on July 12 for potential approval.

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