WELLFLEET — Developer Ted Malone will be able to meet the Oct. 30 pre-application deadline to seek funding in 2022 for his plan to build eight units of affordable housing on Paine Hollow Road. The plan was first proposed in 2006 but was repeatedly derailed, in part by abutters’ lawsuits.
The zoning board of appeals determined on Oct. 14 in a unanimous vote that the changes Malone wished to make to a comprehensive permit granted in 2017 could be categorized as “insubstantial” and therefore could be done administratively via a permit modification.
The permit had been appealed in Barnstable Superior Court by a handful of abutters shortly after it was granted. The changes under discussion now reflect the agreement negotiated over the intervening four years between the abutters and Malone, who is president of Community Housing Resource, Inc., based in Provincetown.
Malone agreed to reduce the slope of the driveway to 10 percent, which required him to make it longer. The change also resulted in shifting the site of one of the two planned buildings to the opposite side of the street and relocating the two septic systems. A circle turnaround was reconfigured into an “L” that would serve as a turnaround for emergency equipment. Drainage on the site was adjusted, and some fencing will be installed between the new units and neighbors.
The agreement also required Malone to set aside money in an escrow account should there be any unexpected water-related issues.
Once the parties signed the agreement, the court remanded the case to the ZBA to determine whether the agreed-upon changes were substantial enough to trigger a new public hearing. At Thursday’s meeting, the board members determined that they weren’t.
Malone was relieved he wouldn’t face yet another delay.
The Wellfleet Housing Authority chose Malone as the developer of the five-acre town-owned parcel in 2006. Appeals by abutters, followed by an economic downturn, put the project on hold until 2017, when Malone submitted his proposal to the zoning board. At the time, he expected the eight planned units to cost $2.4 million.
Four years later, Malone expects the project to cost about 30 percent more than his original estimate. “The architectural and engineering costs have probably doubled,” he said following the ZBA meeting. At least he doesn’t have to cover land costs. The housing authority will retain ownership of the site.
Community Housing Resource is the only developer of affordable housing based on the Outer Cape. It is not planning to finance the project with state and federal low-income tax credits. Instead, Malone said, he plans to pursue housing stabilization funds and other funding sources through the state Dept. of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), as well as money from the MassHousing affordable housing trust fund and the Barnstable County HOME program.
Malone also plans to ask the town to apply for community development block grant reserves. “That would help cover infrastructure like work on the road, drainage, septic, well — all the under-the-ground stuff,” he said.
ZBA chair Sharon Inger noted on Thursday that two members of the board had died since the permit was granted. Bruce Drucker died of Covid-19 in April 2020, and Roger Putnam died at 96 before the pandemic began. The town counsel had advised the board that the change in its membership wouldn’t matter, Inger said.
Town counsel did not take a position on whether the changes to the permit ought to be considered substantial or not, Inger said.
At one point in the meeting, it seemed the discussion had hit a roadblock. Board member Wil Sullivan complained that the original 2017 plan had not been included in the application package for comparison purposes. “I’m being asked if changes are de minimis without a plan to compare it to,” Sullivan said. He said he would not be able to vote without that. “You can tell me whatever you want, but I need to see the plan,” he said.
Malone was able to pull up the original plan electronically for the board. After a comparative review, Sullivan was satisfied. Member Trevor Pontbriand said there appeared to be “a lot of change of location, but the parts remain the same.”
The vote was unanimous that the changes Malone and the abutters had agreed to were insubstantial and could be incorporated into the original permit.