In the summer of 2017 the Stearns/Francis neighborhood was faced with a hostile takeover that threatened its sanctity and the safety of its children. Residents were doubly offended to learn that profit-seeking developers were abusing the Massachusetts affordable housing law (Chapter 40B) to get massive buildings approved on single-family lots.
The neighborhood happens to be one of the most diverse in Wellesley, and full of passionate affordable housing supporters. But it was unanimously opposed to adding project-style buildings (to single-family-zoned neighborhoods) that do nothing to enhance the character of the community or make future residents feel like part of it.
So they crafted a new affordable mission for Wellesley to support what they considered the true spirit of 40B.
- Make the town more affordable to a diversely young population
- Keep empty nesters from leaving out of necessity
- Enable more town employees to live in the community they serve
- Identify land for affordable development and seek consensus
- Align our mission with groups dedicated to school capacity or tax base issues
- Enlist friendly builders to construct housing that respectfully integrates new residents with the community
Today, the expanding OAW network is hard at work, helping Wellesley expedite its first Housing Production Plan so it can take control of its affordable future.