The latest hearing by the Bourne Zoning Board of Appeals into a controversial affordable housing project in Sagamore Beach was continued to next month. Extensive information pertinent to the board’s decision on the project was not received in time for members to examine fully before the scheduled hearing date.
The zoning board’s meeting was scheduled for Wednesday, September 15, via Zoom. The agenda item to be discussed was a comprehensive permit for a 40B affordable housing project to be constructed on Cape View Way in Sagamore Beach.
Board chairman James Beyer explained that discussion of that agenda item was supposed to focus on peer review of a stormwater management report relative to the project. However, the report was 400 pages long, and it was received by board members the day before the scheduled hearing.
“We have had insufficient time to review it, and our peer reviewer said that he has a minimum of 10 days that he needs to review this document,” Mr. Beyer said.
The request for a comprehensive permit for the project was continued to the zoning board’s next meeting on Wednesday, October 6.
The proposed development is a collaboration between Housing Assistance Corporation and Preservation of Affordable Housing. Icon Architecture of Hyannis designed the building, and Horsley Witten Group of Sandwich is the engineering consultant for the project.
The project site is located on Cape View Way in Sagamore, on a lot behind the Bourne Fire Department headquarters on Meetinghouse Lane. The property was taken by the town in 2002 and was eventually deeded to the Bourne Housing Authority, specifically earmarked for affordable housing.
As designed, the building would house 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.
The project has been before the zoning board several times and has drawn mixed reaction. Direct abutters to the property, or people who live in close proximity, have spoken out in opposition to the project. The majority have said they favor affordable housing, but the proposed building, as designed, is too big for the lot on which it would be built.
Other concerns raised include possible traffic and pedestrian issues, the strain on public safety departments, the Bourne Public Schools not being equipped to handle the likely increase to the student population, privacy concerns with residents of the complex looking into neighbors’ back yards and the disruption of native wildlife.
Supporters of the project have noted the need for affordable housing in Bourne, particularly given the rejuvenation of the downtown district with new businesses that will need workers. Proponents also argue that the complex will help in developing Buzzards Bay as a transit-oriented community by providing affordable housing for people who live in Bourne but work in Boston.