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North Suburban News

Wakefield To 'Strongly Consider' Reading's Concerns with Housing Project

Jan 16, 2019 10:03PM ● By Dan Marra

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WAKEFIELD – It’s the size and scope of the affordable housing project proposed for Tarrant Lane in Wakefield that has both Wakefield and Reading residents uneasy about the project.

The 190-unit 40B housing project has been proposed for Tarrant Lane, a dead-end street just north of Rt. 95 in Wakefield. However, while this project is located in Wakefield, the main access roads to this development will be along South Street and Hopkins Street in Reading.

At a recent Wakefield Zoning Board of Appeals meeting, the board requested the developer come up with different proposals, even suggesting decreasing the number of units.

During the last Select Board meeting, Reading officials allowed residents to voice their concerns with the project. And while Reading Town Manager, Bob LeLacheur, informed residents they have no legal authority with this project since it’s located in Wakefield, he did submit a letter to Steve Maio – his counterpart in Wakefield - listing the town's concerns.

Maio said that the two towns have a longstanding relationship and that the concerns of Reading are being shared with the Wakefield Zoning Board, Department of Public Works and traffic committee.

“In the case of all of our neighbors, I feel that we have excellent relations as not only work together providing mutual aid in public safety matters but also in the case of Reading we collaborate on a number of issues including assessing, and post high school graduate special-ed programs,” Maio said. “In developing these agreements I have worked very closely with Bob Lelacheur and we have developed a strong relationship based on mutual respect.  I am sure that during the process, his concerns will be strongly considered.

“This is the type of practice we engage in with all of our neighbors.”

In the letter that was shared with the Wakefield Zoning Board, Reading residents had three major concerns: traffic, impact of construction, and water usage.

Specifically with traffic, residents questioned whether the addition of 190 units would only add 250 more vehicles during peak hours, as stated in Wakefield's traffic report, which would allow the intersection at Main and South Street in Reading to be given an “F” rating by the state. Residents also asked for mitigating improvements, such as adding sidewalks on South Street and Hopkins Street.

Another concern from Reading residents focused on the construction impact. With such a narrow road, residents were concerned how construction vehicles would get in and out of the site and where those vehicles would park. Reading officials proposed potentially making Hopkins Street one way during peak hours of construction. Residents also suggested Wakefield force the construction vehicles to access the site while avoiding Reading roads, or to provide mitigating funds for the “wear and tear” it could cause to Reading;'s roads.

Residents also wanted to know if the development would use the Reading water system and how that could impact their water pressure or if Wakefield would supply the development with its own water.

The proposed three-building development will contain four studio units, 108 one-bedroom units, 59 two-bedroom units, and 19 three-bedroom units. The three buildings will contain 44 units, 64 units, and 82 units, for a total of 190 residential apartments.

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