WELLFLEET — Continuing its review of the 46-unit affordable housing proposal for 95 Lawrence Road named Long Pond Village, the zoning board of appeals on July 21 heard from the developers’ architect and landscapers, who emphasized the planned neighborhood’s modern and environmentally sensitive features.
Gail Sullivan of Studio G Architects in Boston told the ZBA the design elements will avoid the “cookie-cutter” style of older affordable housing projects by using different roof lines, varying the siding, and adding a few accent colors to front and rear doors.
The designs of the Upper Village buildings, comprising seven structures containing 24 units, will have modernist-style banded windows and sloping roofs.
“All of the roof designs are either facing south or west,” Sullivan said, “to maximize solar power.”
The siding will be a mix of vertical clapboard, horizontal clapboard, and board and batten, she said. The Lower Village, a 22-unit three-story apartment building with a community room, laundry, and elevator, features the same modernist-inspired architectural style, with an eye toward energy efficiency.
The project managers will try to get the development “passive certified,” a designation granted to construction that achieves the highest standard globally for low-carbon, low-energy usage, Sullivan said. All appliances and HVAC systems will be electric, she added.
In a letter to the Independent, Sullivan added, “The project will contribute less to global warming than typical house construction because the team is utilizing materials and systems with reduced CO2 emissions in extraction, manufacture, and installation.”
The developers are the nonprofit Preservation of Affordable Housing (POAH) and the Community Development Partnership (CDP).
The ZBA aims to vote on a comprehensive permit for the development under the state’s Chapter 40B by Sept. 8 or Sept. 22. Such permits may be granted for projects in communities with less than the state’s minimum standard of 10 percent of total housing stock being affordable. The permit may include waivers of local density, height limit, and other zoning bylaws.
The board is in the midst of its Long Pond Village review and will next meet on Thursday, Aug. 4 to discuss circulation and traffic, followed by an Aug. 25 hearing on septic systems and wastewater treatment.
Following the design discussion, Cate Oranchak, the project’s landscape architect, explained how the six-acre property would include a community garden, a patio with seating, a pergola for shade, and a children’s play area built with natural materials rather than brightly colored plastics. There would be some lawn areas and some natural meadows, she said.
The structures will be surrounded by woodlands, Sullivan said. Trees will be planted where there are now visual openings, she added. The Lower Village building will be visible from Long Pond Road only to the extent that the current abandoned council on aging building is now visible, Sullivan said.
“The town is not losing six acres of woodlands to this project,” Sullivan wrote to the Independent. “Of the approximately six-acre site, 60 percent will remain untouched woodland because we’ve chosen to build the units densely. When finished, the site will have 80 percent open green space.”
Wellfleet resident Richard Robicheau decribed the proposed neighborhood as “far more New Seabury than Wellfleet.”
Robicheau argued there is no need for the development to have a community room, garden, or play area because Wellfleet already has common gathering spots.
“They’ve ignored that we have a community center, we have a community garden, we have churches in this community,” said Robicheau. “We have a lot of participation by a lot of people in the community, and I don’t think they even explored any of that.”
Jay Coburn, executive director of the CDP, said, “One of the real challenges for seniors living on the Outer Cape is the amount of social isolation. Having a place where folks could congregate and address this challenge of social isolation was really important.”
Sharon Inger, the ZBA chair, added, “I’m on the board of the community garden here in Wellfleet, and we have a five-year waiting period for a plot in the garden. So, an additional community garden is certainly something we could use.”
An abutter, John Richard of Pine Valley Road, asked about the potential use of story poles — full-scale three-dimensional outlines of structures — to be put up before official construction starts for a preview of the final design.
“We haven’t talked about it,” Sullivan said, adding that she would discuss that possibility with the design team.
Voicing a concern for privacy, Richard also inquired about a proposed path in the woods behind the development’s Upper Village. This path extends from the water tower down to the cul-de-sac where Richard lives.
Sullivan said there was no barrier planned to cut off access to residents. In fact, she said, she had planned to integrate the path described by Richard into the new neighborhood.
“We had actually hoped to connect the community garden and the children’s play yard to that path network because we saw that as a potential amenity for people,” Sullivan said. “So, it sounds like that’s something to be talking to the abutters about.”
Another abutter raised her virtual “hand” during the Zoom meeting simply to voice her support for the project and the way its organizers have listened to and addressed the concerns of community members. “We could not be more thrilled about the design or the responsiveness,” said Dianne Perlmutter, who lives on Old Long Pond Road.
After community members had their chance to speak, Inger opened the floor to board members with questions. ZBA member Wil Sullivan said he was “anti-lawn.”
“I do think the landscaping is sort of over the top,” Wil Sullivan said. “Most people here live with very minimal landscaping and they’re very happy with it.”
He also asked whether the plan had been approved by the Wellfleet police and fire departments. Due to height restrictions, which limit residential buildings to 28 feet, Long Pond Village needs a waiver for its taller structures. Coburn said that initial plans, including a three-story 47-foot structure, were distributed to both departments for feedback in April, but that they had not yet had a response.
Inger recommended that the developers obtain letters of support from both departments. “That should be part of the application,” she said.