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COHASSET, MA-While AvalonBay Communities would like to develop a residential complex on the 62-acre site here on King Street, the town would prefer to see the property developed for commercial use.

The property, which is currently in an industrial district, is one of the last large commercial sites in town. But the Virginia-based developer, which has an option to purchase the land from the current owner, Susi Company, is looking to apply for a comprehensive permit under the state’s affordable housing law, according to Robert Egan, the town’s building commissioner. Because the town only has three 3% of its housing designated as affordable, AvalonBay can circumvent the local zoning laws to develop its residential project here as long as at least 25% of its complex is affordable. The developer plans to have 25% of its 254 units designated affordable.

“The planning board does not want residential housing in an industrial district,” Egan tells GlobeSt.com. If the developer receives the comprehensive permit, the town has little recourse. But Egan points out that the developer has another large hurdle to overcome in terms of figuring out how to deal with sewage disposal on the site. “That seems to be their biggest obstacle. The site has been historically difficult to develop because of that,” he says. “A commercial site wouldn’t generate as much wastewater.”

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