Norwell: Officials discuss proposal for affordable housing rentals

The Norwell Board of Selectmen met Wednesday night to vote on a few important upcoming annual town meeting warrant articles, including one by the community housing trust that calls for construction of affordable housing units at the site of the old police station.

The committee has requested that selectmen vote to support their article for the construction of 14 rental units, when the site becomes available in December.

But the board has decided against voting whether or not to support the proposal, especially after Norwell veterans have expressed interest in the property, as the site for an American Legion Hall.

However, Selectman Greg McBride, the selectmen’s liaison to the community housing trust, fully supports the article.

“The trust has come up with a proposal which would create rental housing in an area of town that would benefit from it. Fifty percent of it would be below market rate and fifty percent would be above market rate. Even if it was all at market rate, there’s still a need in this town. There’s plenty of documented information that we don’t have rental opportunities for residents in town,” McBride said.

But other Selectmen, including Tammie Garner, prefer to wait for town meeting’s verdict on the proposal.

“I really do want to hear how the public feels about that project being in that location, because the residents there are certainly going to be most affected by it. I do think town meeting itself is going to be a phenomenal opportunity to discuss this and vet this. I’m now being asked whether or not I’m going to vote essentially for it right now and I’m not fully prepared to do that.”

Selectmen did vote 4 to 1 to support Marie Molar’s citizen petition article that would transfer land on Main Street across from the Osborne athletic fields from the care and custody of the board of selectmen, over to the conservation commission.
Just one member, Selectman Greg McBride, voted to abstain on that issue.

About John Penny

John Penny is a town news reporter at WATD. He primarily covers stories in the towns of Marshfield, Cohasset, Scituate, Norwell, Hingham, Abington and Quincy.