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FRAMINGHAM, MA-In yet another indication of just how the state’s affordable housing law can be manipulated by either side of a development issue, this town aims to block two proposed developments by using a new count of its affordable housing stock.

Archstone Communities has proposed a 264-unit in the Nobscot area here while Edmands Road Realty LLC would like to put a 60-unit senior-housing complex in the same area. Both developers are applying for comprehensive permits under the state’s affordable housing law, which would allow them to bypass local zoning if the town has less than 10% affordable housing and they are willing to develop 25% of the housing as affordable.

Until now, Framingham had only designated 9.23% of it housing stock as affordable, according to Donna Jacobs, senior planner for the town. But a new count recently put the town officially over the 10% mark. “We did an exhaustive counting to make sure all units that could be counted, were counted,” Jacobs tells GolbeSt.com. Reportedly, the town gave a new inventory list to the state in June, when it was able to benefit from a change in the rules that allowed at least 300 Department of Mental Health and Department of Mental Retardation units in the town to count as affordable housing.

Jacobs notes that the counting really began early in the year because the town was preparing for its second year of certification of housing rights, which enables it to get some subsidies from the state to increase its housing stock. But, says Jacobs, “we were in that mode when we heard about the applications for comprehensive permits” under the state’s affordable housing law.

The developers are still applying for comprehensive permits but the town’s new designation means that the developers will not be able to appeal the town’s zoning ruling to the state. A hearing on the two developments was recently held here and, according to Jacobs, there was a lot of local opposition to the plans. The concerns among the residents were over density, traffic issues, water and sewage problems. The Nobscott area is currently zoned for residential use but not at the density the developers are looking for.

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