ConComm Approves Friendly 40B Guidance


Franklin Conservation Commission met on Thursday evening, Dec. 1, and, among other things, got a briefing on  recommendations for the “Friendly 40B” process that the town has scoped out as a way to encourage affordable  housing creation while minimizing some of the negative impacts sometimes associated with 40B developments.

Chapter 40B is a Massachusetts statute that overrides many local regulations if the developer commits to creating affordable housing as defined by the statute. Developers having trouble getting approval for a desired project have, not infrequently, resorted to creating a 40B project –potentially less profitable but much harder for local authorities to derail.

The “friendly” process aims to recognize the power that 40B gives to developers and potentially further smooth the path in return for working to accommodate some town goals.

The matter under discussion was a proposed Friendly 40B at 121 Grove Street for applicant, Fairfield Residential.

Six recommendations for the project were made, namely.

1)That the applicant should be required to submit an abbreviated notice of resource area delineation (ANRAD) to the commission to confirm the resource area boundaries and designations on the property during normal environmental conditions.

2) The project to be subject to peer review by BETA (engineers hired  by the town for such tasks)  in connection with the submission of an ANRAD and any subsequent notice of intent.

3) That the applicant should minimize disturbance within 25 feet of any resource areas, to the greatest extent practicable, and should consider opportunities to minimize and avoid impacts to the intermittent streams

4) That to the extent the applicant proposes to fill or otherwise permanently disturb intermittent vegetated wetlands, they should consider additional wetland replication on the property to the extent practicable

5) That in lieu of a formal Alternatives Analysis, in accordance with section 7.13 of the wetland’s regulations, the applicant should consider the following: a reduction in the number of parking spaces in order to reduce impervious coverage, to consider moving proposed buildings closer together in order to reduce impervious coverage, to consider consolidating the clubhouse and amenities building to reduce impervious coverage,

6) That the applicant should be required to submit a construction sequence and schedule to the conservation agent in accordance with section 7.15 of the wetland’s regulation.

After some discussion, mostly amplifying on the points, the Commission voted to approve the recommendations.

The 121 Grove project now heads to the ZBA.

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