Weymouth: Southfield residential ‘cap’ removed for senior housing

Starwood has proposed new language in their legislation to satisfy Weymouth Town Council’s concerns with senior housing units at Southfield.

The proposed language for senior housing  would give the developer the ability to exceed the 2855 maximum of residential units, solely for the purpose of developing senior housing.

The new language in the legislation also allows for the 2 million square feet of commercial development maximum to be exceeded.

Councilor Ed Harrington brought the idea for more senior housing units to the full Town Council several weeks ago. He said he is satisfied with Starwood’s revision to the legislation.

“I’m searching for any way to maximize Weymouth’s revenue from this particular project,” Harrington said, “We need an extra $17-23 million a year to run the town properly. I had hoped that Southfield would give us about half of that, somewhere between $10-12 million.”

Harrington added that by Starwood’s calculations, if 1000 senior units were built, Weymouth would bring in about $4-5 million more in revenues.

Although a potential benefit to the town, Harrington and other Councilors are slightly concerned with the definition of “senior housing” in the legislation. The definition allows for one occupant in each unit to be under 55-years-old.

Matthew Barry, Starwood Vice President, says that the definition is directly out of the zoning for Southfield.

“We wanted to make sure that the language in the legislation matched the language in the zoning,” Barry said.”

Barry added that after speaking with senior housing developers, they were told that there are a number of instances where couples want to buy senior housing and one of them is under 55-years-old.

“We look for the ability and flexibility to provide senior housing to as many people as possible that fit the requirements and we don’t want to minimize that,” Barry said.

Barry said they have spoken with several senior housing developers who agree that the definition used is “appropriate and consistent” with other senior developments in the state.

Town Council is going to send a letter to Mayor Susan Kay requesting that Burns & Levinson, the attorneys the town hired to review the legislation, look over this added language.

“I will feel far more comfortable when legal counsel representing the interest of the town looks over the entire document to make sure that it says what we think it says, “Harrington said.

 

About Samantha Tracey

Samantha Tracey graduated from Salem State University in 2013 with a degree in Journalism. She has been reporting on local issues in a variety of towns: Bridgewater, Abington, Carver, Weymouth, East Bridgewater, Hanson, Halifax, etc. She says growing up on the South Shore has made it interesting now to be covering news in such familiar places.