MARLBOROUGH, MA-Fairfield Residential Companies wants to build a 306-unit development on Simarano Drive near Route 495. The Fairfield, CT-based developer is applying for a comprehensive permit under the state’s affordable housing law, Chapter 40B.

The permit will enable the developer to bypass local zoning laws because at least 25% of the project will be designated affordable and the town does not have 10% of its housing designated affordable. While Al Lima, Marlborough’s planner, tells that the city has mixed feelings about that dense a project coming in, the up side is the project will finally put the town over its 10% affordable-housing requirement. “No one likes these projects,” he says.

Lima points out that this project comes on the heels of two other 40B projects that were recently approved–a 20-unit townhouse development being built by Mark O’Hagan that will have five affordable units and an 18-unit apartment building being built by The Advocates to house the mentally ill.

Fairfield’s parcel is zoned limited industrial. Lima acknowledges that access to the site is tricky but it would have to have a good reason to deny the developer a comprehensive permit. In that case the developer can appeal to the state’s housing authority and, usually, unless there is a legitimate public health issue, the denial will be reversed.

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