PROVINCETOWN — A condominium development that initially faced significant resistance from neighbors got the go-ahead at an April 22 planning board meeting. The board granted a special permit to Jay Abbiuso for a 12-unit condominium complex at 286½ Bradford St. Two of the units will be designated “affordable.”
The number of units was made possible by the Inclusionary and Incentive Zoning Bylaw enacted by voters at the 2017 annual town meeting. The bylaw is meant to encourage developers to contribute to Provincetown’s chronically limited supply of affordable housing. It allows, in exchange for the inclusion of “affordable” units, the possibility of constructing a greater number of units (a “density bonus”) than would otherwise be permitted. To opt into this, developers’ plans go through an extensive review process and must receive a special permit from the planning board.
Planning board chair Brandon Quesnell declined requests for comment and instructed other planning board members not to speak with the Independent.
Abbiuso said that, to his knowledge, he is one of few developers who have opted into the program since it was enacted four years ago.
There was no question, Abbiuso said, that he wanted to add the affordable units. “Building the two affordable units was a given, as far as I was concerned,” he said, adding that employees of his company, Builder Boys, face housing issues. “It was the right thing to do,” he said.
The two affordable units will be identical to the market-rate units in the development, he said. One of the two will be accessible and the other, if needed, could be easily converted for accessibility, he added.
“I talked with a lot of people who weren’t even aware that this [inclusionary bylaw] program existed,” he said. “The more information that gets out about these units, the better. People should be aware of it.”
Abbiuso has been building in Provincetown since 2016. He has worked on four projects here and three in Truro, he said, including six single-family houses and one condominium.
Right now, he said, he and his partner live in a Provincetown rental, but they plan to move into one of the units at 286½ Bradford.
Abbiuso’s proposal initially provoked several letters of opposition to the planning board from community members who said that 12 units on that lot, which is under an acre, amounted to overdevelopment. But the buildings will cover only 16 percent of the lot, and 40 percent lot coverage is allowed; the plan also preserves 60 percent of the green space on the parcel, whereas a minimum of 30 percent is required. Part of the property is in a wetland and will be turned over to the Provincetown Conservation Trust.
During the review process, Abbiuso made several small adjustments to his plans: the location of trash cans, the type of outdoor lighting, and cooperating with the neighboring Provincetown Tennis Club on landscaping plans.
The builder’s final meeting with the planning board was smooth sailing. “I’m very happy about this project,” said planning board member Jeffrey Mulliken at last Thursday’s meeting. “The applicant is to be commended not only on the quality of project but the degree to which he listened to our comments throughout the application process.”
When he began building in Provincetown, Abbiuso said, he heard from friends, “You’re crazy. Provincetown is so difficult to work with.” Actually, he said, the rules for developers here are “no more onerous than in every other town.”