HYANNIS – People at Tuesday’s public hearing on a 312-unit development on Scudder Avenue could only agree on one thing: Cape Town needs more affordable and accessible housing.
During the three-hour meeting of a Cape Cod Commission Sub-Committee comments ranged from strong support to outright opposition.
Critics argue that the developer, Lennar Multi-Family Communitiesproposed a project that is too big, too dense, too difficult for a fragile environment and which will create too much traffic in an already congested corridor.
Developers say the project will bring needed housing to an area that desperately needs it, and that it is in an area that can be connected to water and sewer lines and walkable to downtown. town.
The hearing was the first in a series of meetings the subcommittee will hold before sending it to the full committee for a vote. The session marked the first opportunity for the public to weigh in.
The apartment complex LMC is proposing, called Emblem Hyannis, would be located at 35 Scudder Ave. on land currently occupied by the Twin Brooks Golf Course.
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LMC proposed to build 13 three-storey residential buildings that would contain 312 units consisting of studios, one-, two-, and three-bedroom apartments. A clubhouse, fitness center, swimming pool, 493 parking spaces and residential buildings would be surrounded by nearly 20 acres of conservation-restricted land on the 40-acre parcel.
Rents for the LMC project are expected to range from the mid-$1,000 to the upper $2,000, according to the developer. The complex would also include, by law, 32 affordable housing units.
The project passes muster under the Massachusetts Environmental Policy Act. A citizens’ request for a fail-safe review was filed, but it was determined that no state review was required.
Developer Lenmar says the Hyannis project has environmental protections
LMC representatives pointed to the 20-acre conservation restriction, a stormwater management plan designed for a 100-year storm, floodplain restrictions, reduced nitrogen loading and reduced demand. irrigation as there will no longer be a golf course on the site.
Ed Pesce, a civil engineer at LMC, said the developer wanted to buy contract electricity through a renewable energy provider instead of building solar panels. Pesce also said the developer has pledged to contribute a fair share to pay for upgrades to a nearby pumping station as it nears capacity.
Alisa Magnotta, CEO of the Housing Assistance Corporation, was one of the first to voice her support. She called the project unique because of its size and consideration for the environment. She said projects that have access to sewer infrastructure, are walkable to major streets and involve the redevelopment of underused land are ideal.
“Leveraging land and dollars to help conserve land and house people is a win-win situation for Cape Cod,” she said.
But the representatives of Save Twin Brooksan organization committed to preserving the land as open space, and the Barnstable Land Trust, have criticized the plans for the project.
Critics of the Scudder Avenue project say the developer’s facts are insufficient
Hired by Save Twin Brooks, Laura Krause, Scientist at BETA Groupsaid the conservation efforts praised by the developer do not meet certain performance standards under the Wetlands Protection Act and the Barnstable Wetlands Protection Regulations.
Krause said wetland impacts were not quantified in the application or environmental notification form submitted to Massachusetts Environmental Protection Agency. She said of 19 acres proposed for conservation restrictions, eight acres contain water, wetlands and streams, and an additional three acres are in a part of the floodplain that would prohibit construction anyway.
Gary James, a BETA Group engineer hired by Save Twin Brooks, said the developers had overestimated the volume of nitrogen that would be reduced with the planned development. He questioned the developer’s nitrogen loading calculations.
Studies have also underestimated traffic congestion around the roundabout and in the immediate vicinity, said Brian Hughes, vice president of Save Twin Brooks.
Janet Milkman, executive director of the Barnstable Land Trust, said it was possible to build housing and save open space at the same time, but objected to the size and scale of the Emblem proposal Hyannis. The Trust has proposed its own plan for accommodation on the property.
“We recognize the need for housing,” she said. “Other sizes might work.”
But Magnotta says his nonprofit sees people looking for housing every day. They are long-time residents and tenants of Cape Town, full-time workers who have been essential members of the communities in which they live.
“We spent two years working with the Association to Preserve Cape Cod to find areas like this to build housing,” she said.
Hundreds of units are needed to meet the housing crisis, said former Barnstable councilor Britt Beedenbender, calling for the meeting. She said the open space was not on the table because the parcel had been a golf course, not an undeveloped parcel of land.
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Year-round resident Christina Bologna agreed. The 38-year-old said she had moved six times in six years and wanted to live in the city.
“I don’t want to buy; it’s out of reach,” she says.
Esin Sozer is supportive of the project, saying there were few options for her when looking to rent accommodation on a budget of $3,000 per month.
“You can’t live in Cape Town,” she said. “If you want your children and grandchildren to live in Cape Town, support this project.”
Karolyn McClelland, who calls herself an affordable housing advocate, is also concerned about the environment. She urged the parties to come to the table to resolve any issues.
“Why not control our impact on the environment?” she says.
She suggested maintaining golf courses organically, having environmentally compatible plantings, designating areas for pollinators, and paying attention to the fertilization and water needs of individual courses. Conservation is a responsibility shared by all, she said.
Many of the 37 people who spoke had also sent letters to the subcommittee, expanding on what they had to say in a three-minute comment period.
Contact Denise Coffey at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter: @DeniseCoffeyCCT.