Planning Board Gives Approvals for TND Cottage Street Development

By Adam Swift

The Neighborhood Developers (TND) passed a major hurdle in its efforts to get an affordable rental development built at 170 Cottage St. at last week’s Planning Board meeting.

The board unanimously approved the major site plan review for the 66-unit project, as well as recommending approval of special permits needed for the project by the Zoning Board of Appeals.

TND is looking to begin construction on the project in spring of 2023, pending approvals, with 12 one-bedroom apartments, 43 two-bedroom apartments, and 11 three-bedroom apartments. All of the units will be affordable.

The project will next go before the ZBA later this month for final approvals of the special permits needed to begin construction.

“We are in front of the Planning Board for the third time,” said TND real estate development director Steve Lafferiere. “In 2018, a different owner was approved for a project with 66 apartments. In 2021, we signed a purchase and sale agreement with the owner and asked this board for some modifications to the special permit, which they granted. Today, we are back again for two reasons; first of all the permit has expired, and we’ve made some exciting changes that we think will make the project actually better.”

The major changes from the previous application include putting all the parking under the building, and using land that was previously earmarked as outside parking for green space.

“We are submitting our second application to the state to fund this project by the end of October,” said Lafferiere. “If successful, we would like to start construction next spring or early summer, and have it so people can live there by the winter of 2025.”

There will be 72 underground parking spaces, and Lafferiere said he believes that will be more than enough parking with the Silver Line stop one block away. Lafferiere said there will also be ample parking for bicycles.

Planning Board member Sharleen McLean said she liked the overall design of the building, but that she had some concerns that the materials and colors presented in the design plans made it look too institutional.

Lafferiere said that while the building materials were most likely locked in, it was possible that the final product would feature more attractive colors than in the current planning documents, and that there would be additional opportunities for public art.

A number of residents, including members of the TND board and executives from the environmental justice nonprofit GreenRoots spoke in favor of the project, noting the need for affordable housing in Chelsea.

City Manager Thomas Ambrosino said his administration is in full support of the project.

“Housing, particularly affordable housing, is the biggest challenge we face in the community,” said Ambrosino. “This project puts a dent in that. Certainly, 60-plus units is not going to solve it by any means, but the city needs more affordable housing.”

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