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Wellesley drafts plan to boost affordable housing

Wellesley officials are seeking public input on a draft five-year plan to help promote more affordable housing in the town.

The proposed housing production plan is intended to help Wellesley reach a state-mandated goal of having at least 10 percent of the town’s housing stock affordable, according to a draft copy of the report. Currently, 6.33 percent of Wellesley’s housing — 575 units — is affordable, according to the draft plan.

The town needs a total of 909 affordable housing units to reach 10 percent.

The draft identifies Wellesley’s housing needs and the strategies the town will use to help develop affordable homes, according to a statement on the town’s website.


As of August, Wellesley’s zoning board has received five comprehensive permit applications for proposed developments under Chapter 40B, the state law that allows developers to seek waivers from local zoning rules if the 10 percent threshold is not met.

Combined, the proposed developments would include 245 housing units, of which 185 units would count toward the town’s 10 percent threshold, according to the draft plan.

To help meet state requirements, the draft plan calls for at least 45 new affordable units each year.

The plan also calls for the creation of a variety of affordable and mixed-income housing that makes the town “a welcoming community for people with diverse socioeconomic backgrounds.”

It also would support offering more options for low and middle-income families, seniors, and individuals with disabilities; and the reuse of existing buildings to create affordable housing.

The draft plan would promote the redevelopment of office parks, existing affordable housing developments, and surplus institutional and town-owned land “to create desirable mixed-income and mixed-use neighborhoods, where feasible.”

The town will take public comments on its proposed plan until Friday, Aug. 31. The Planning Board will review it Sept. 4, followed by selectmen on Sept. 11.


The Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and Wellesley Housing Development Corporation will meet jointly on Sept. 24 to vote on the plan.

The plan also must be certified by the state Department of Housing and Community Development.

Comments and questions can be sent to Michael Zehner, Wellesley’s planning director, at mzehner@wellesleyma.gov or by calling 781-431-1019.

John Hilliard can be reached at john.hilliard@globe.com