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Work Set to Begin on Eastham Housing Project
Cape Cod Times
September 5, 2018
Eastham town officials expect construction of 65 units of rental housing to begin later this month, in an effort to accommodate young adults and shake up housing trends.
“We don’t have any rentals,” Selectman Aimee Eckman said. “There are no apartments in town.”
The town has among the worst records for affordable housing inventory on Cape Cod, based on state standards. More than 95 percent of Eastham’s housing is single-family detached homes, with prices pushed upward by a strong demand by seasonal, second-home owners and retirees, according to the town’s housing production plan.
“We haven’t had a place to house young people who are just getting started, who may live with their parents or in a friend’s basement,” said Eckman, who is also a board member of the Eastham Affordable Housing Trust.
The $23 million construction project known as the Campbell-Purcell housing development will be a set of townhouses, with four units per building. The scale is deliberately meant to avoid a bulky apartment complex appearance, and the buildings will have mostly two-bedroom units, Eckman said.
Residents of the new housing would reach the 10.4-acre town property via Brackett Road in North Eastham, and they would be able to walk to the businesses in that area, Eckman said.
“It’s just the beginning,” she said of improvements in housing, traffic, demographics and the economy in that neighborhood.
The development is designed to accommodate a range of incomes, with 50 units serving residents earning only up to 60 percent of the area median income and 15 designated as workforce housing for those earning up to 120 percent of median income.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the housing project is planned, but a date has not yet been set, Town Planner Paul Lagg said. The town is on the verge of issuing the project’s building permits, Lagg said.
“It’s proceeding on schedule,” he said. “Everything is lined up.”
Another affordable housing project at a former golf driving range in North Eastham remains in the works as well, with a scaled-down design, Town Administrator Jacqueline Beebe said.
The selectmen began negotiations in mid-2016 with the Philadelphia-based Pennrose Properties LLC to build the Campbell-Purcell housing. The town owned the land since 2001 but had never been able to attract a developer to submit a proposal for affordable housing there. That changed in 2016 when the new municipal water system allowed for increased density in the area.
Late in 2017, the state announced that the housing development would receive $10 million over 10 years in federal low-income housing tax credits and $875,000 from the state for five years, according to Charlie Adams of Pennrose Properties.
Adams did not respond to a request for comment on the status of the project.
At the last two annual town meetings in Eastham, voters approved a total of $750,000 in Community Preservation Act money for the development. Because the project is considered a regional effort, town meetings in Wellfleet and Orleans each contributed $100,000 this year in preservation act money as well, Lagg said.