A local developer said he is withdrawing plans for a Chapter 40B project off Shore Street after the Falmouth Zoning Board of Appeals added conditions to the permit that would make the development economically unfeasible.
Zoning board members on October 15 approved plans for eight housing units, two of which would be sold at an affordable rate, at 40 Shore Street. A vacant house on the property would be renovated, and seven new two-story, single-family units would have been constructed.
“We worked with the board for a year and made a tremendous amount of changes at their request,” said Mark R. Bogosian, the owner of Longfellow Design Build and manager of Buzzards Bay Development, the project developer. “We had explained and brought in experts to explain why making the changes they requested would be impossible to accommodate for financial reasons, but they added the changes to the permit anyway.”
The project was estimated to yield a 10.74 percent profit, according to the application. MassHousing sets a maximum profit margin of 20 percent on 40Bs.
A developer can appeal to the Massachusetts Appeals Committee if it feels the board imposed unfair economic conditions.
“A 40B can’t be a windfall,” Kevin P. Klauer, an attorney for the project, said. “However, if you are below 15 percent [profit margin], the ZBA is not allowed to require changes that would lower any further that minimum return. We feel we have a strong case for an appeal but don’t want to wait as it could take years for a decision.”
The plan originally included two units with two-car garages, but the applicant agreed to amend for just one unit with a two-car garage. The board decision states that a garage makes the unit exterior substantially different in appearance from the affordable units and therefore does not meet Massachusetts Housing and Community Development guidelines. In addition, the board required the removal of a fourth bedroom on one of the market-rate units.
Mr. Klauer said the idea is for the six market-rate homes to be sold at a set price that subsidizes the lower sale price of the affordable units.
“We needed a higher return rate on those units to meet the minimum profit margin,” he said.
Mr. Bogosian said he is exploring other possibilities for the site that will include only market-rate units.