Grant Boosts Housing Project

Grant Boosts Housing Project WEYMOUTH, MA - A South Weymouth affordable-housing project that was held up for years by residents' legal appeals can begin soliciting construction bids after receiving a $2.3 million boost from a state grant.

South Suburban Affordable Housing plans to build 20 apartments on a 5.78-acre Pond Street site near the Abington line. The property, which was purchased from Tedeschi Realty Corp., is a wooded area.

MassHousing, the state authority responsible for increasing affordable housing, accepted South Suburban Affordable Housing's application for $2.3 million to help pay development costs.

"As soon as that gets finalized, we can start moving the project forward," said Roland Mousally, director of the Weymouth Housing Authority and the nonprofit that is proposing the project. "I hate to be too optimistic, but it looks good. If things go according to plan, we expect we would be out to bid in October."

Some elements of the plan need approval from the conservation commission. In approving the project in 2004, the board of zoning appeals stipulated that a 600-foot sidewalk must be built on the site; the sidewalk will be installed close to a protected wetland.

The conservation commission will review the plan at its April 29 meeting, said Mary Ellen Schloss, Weymouth's conservation administrator.

The development was originally to include 24 units. Mousally said the number was reduced to 20 as a compromise with neighbors.

The project received all the town approvals it needed in 2004, but the estimated cost to build the it has risen from $2 million to $5 million as the town dealt with appeals. A grant from the Massachusetts Development Finance Agency, the state's finance and development authority, will cover $2.7 million of the project's cost.

Six of the apartments would be available to people with federal Section 8 low-income housing subsidies. The others will be available to people who make 60 percent or less of the area's median income.

The project will give Weymouth residents or town employees the right of first refusal on 14 of the apartments.

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