Although there was little fanfare to mark the occasion, a senior housing development proposed for the former Henry T. Wing School passed a major milestone this week.
After a brief discussion on Tuesday, July 27,members of the Sandwich Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously granted a comprehensive permit to the Stratford Capital Group.
The ZBA’s granting of the permit marks the last town regulatory permit SGC had to obtain before beginning construction on 128 units of affordable senior housing at the former school site.
Nobody from the development team attended the ZBA meeting on Tuesday, July 27, but most of the concerns and conditions of the permit had already been discussed at a ZBA meeting earlier this month.
The ZBA this week did deliberate on the developer’s request for a waiver of some building fees because the $53 million complex will be funded primarily by public funds—state grants for affordable housing and community preservation funds from Sandwich.
The board voted unanimously to grant a 25 percent decrease in fees.
There was a short discussion about whether the developer should conduct another traffic study, but the board dropped the idea after Town Attorney Jonathan Silverstein said the expense might be prohibitive.
Last month the ZBA did request that SCG submit a weekend car count to the town engineering department.
The board was concerned that weekend summer traffic—with a combination of families using the Wing School athletic fields and residents trying to get in and out of the complex—might cause problems.
A subsequent traffic study showed that although summer traffic will increase somewhat, it can be mitigated by a proposed access to the complex via Beale Avenue and enhancing pedestrian and bicycle access, among other suggestions from the engineering department.
Assistant Town Engineer Samuel Jensen also suggested that the developer contribute to, and take advantage of, a new police department speed messaging trailer.
“This trailer flashes the speed of an oncoming vehicle and has been shown to have an effect on traffic speeds and safety. This has been useful, particularly in residential neighborhoods and other sensitive areas,” Mr. Jensen said in a memo earlier this month. “The current trailer is nearing the end of its serviceable life and is in need of replacement.”
Keith J. McDonald, vice president of development and acquisitions, said earlier this month that he does not believe traffic will be a major issue.
SCG has observed no parking or traffic tie-ups at its other senior housing complexes on Cape Cod, Mr. McDonald has said.
Specifically, senior residents (ages 62 and older) do not need a lot of extra parking spaces, said Donald A. Rose, senior engineer with CHA Design/Construction Solutions.
At senior complexes SCG has built at the former Kempton J. Coady School in Bourne and the former John Simpkins School on South Yarmouth’s Main Street, only 0.66 spaces per unit are actually in use, Mr. Rose has said.
Nevertheless, he said, plans for the Wing School complex call for at least one space per unit, plus an additional six open spaces for general use. Parking has also been calculated for six SCG onsite staffers—property managers, resident support staff and technicians.
Planning Director Ralph A. Vitacco said SCG must also go before the planning board one more time, but it is merely a formality and approval is not required.