Cape View Way

The site of the proposed housing development, Cape View Way, is in the wooded lot behind this Sagamore retail strip and the Sagamore Beach Post Office next door on Meetinghouse Lane.

After months of debate and negotiation, the Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals is close to approving an affordable housing development in Sagamore. Board members have given an early thumbs up to modifications that downsize the proposed building. The proposed size has been a major source of criticism.

The revised project was brought before the zoning board during its remote Zoom meeting last Wednesday, November 17. Board members showed much more enthusiasm for the complex following a presentation of the changes to the site plan.

“Let me just say for the record, I’m very, very pleased with the revisions to the design,” associate member Patricia A. Nemeth said, “and I compliment the team for listening to the board and responding so well.”

Board chairman James E. Beyer said he believed the revised project is one he could support. Board vice chairman Christopher J. Pine added his appreciation of the design team’s work.

“I can’t say how much I appreciate the team really coming together to listen to our comments and the public’s comments,” Mr. Pine said. “I think in the spirit of a good project for our community we’re headed in the right direction.”

Among the proposed changes is a reduction in the number of apartments and a corresponding reduction in the building’s footprint, which will result in more green space and play area around the building. The changes will also lead to compliance with town zoning regulations regarding the rear-yard setback, which had been a point of contention with abutters.

The proposed development is a collaboration between Housing Assistance Corporation and Preservation of Affordable Housing. The project is located on Cape View Way in Sagamore, on property that was taken by the town in 2002, deeded to the Bourne Housing Authority and earmarked for affordable housing.

As originally designed, the building was to have housed 51 units, some with two and three bedrooms, in a three-story facility on 2.94 acres. The apartments would rent at a variety of affordable rates, which proponents calculate at approximately 60 percent of area median income.

Direct abutters to the property said the proposed building, as designed, was too big for the lot on which it would be built. One of the big sticking points was a request for approval of a 7-foot rear-yard setback from neighboring properties, which is roughly half the minimum required in the town’s zoning bylaw.

During last week’s meeting, Brian Kuchar, civil engineer with the Horsley Witten Group detailed the revisions for the board. Mr. Kuchar explained there has been a reduction to the number of apartments from 51 to 42, a reduction in the building’s footprint by 1,600 square feet, and relocation of the building itself to maintain a 15-foot setback along the rear property line.

David Quinn, director of housing development for Housing Assistance Corporation, said designers took to heart comments board members made during their October 6 meeting, calling for a redesign to a smaller size with fewer units. Mr. Quinn noted that every unit cut from the design translates into a family without a home, but the revision is “a good compromise.”

“We want this project to be something that the town and the community is proud of, and we think we’ve done that,” he said.

Moving the building has allowed for greater separation from the 50-foot setback to nearby wetlands, Mr. Kuchar said. Outdoor space at the rear of the building has been increased with the building being downsized. The number of parking spaces on the site has been decreased, which contributes, in part, to the increase in green space, he said.

Wastewater flow has been decreased by 1,100 gallons per day, he said, resulting in a 2,100-square-foot decrease in the leach fields’ footprint. That reduction has allowed for greater separation from an abutting property as well as increased vegetative screening, he said.

Greater specifics were requested regarding the precise amount of play space for children living at the complex as well as the overall landscaping plan for the site. The latter would also address how much guest parking will be available given the reduction in parking spaces.

The board agreed to continue the hearing to Wednesday, December 1, for a full review of the project’s comprehensive permit.

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