The future of a proposed 56-unit condominium development on 49 acres off Water Street in Pembroke is before the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development, which has until March 22 to determine whether the $23.3 million project moves ahead.

The developer designated 14 of the units in River Marsh as affordable and applied under the state Chapter 40B statute, which allows projects to bypass some local zoning laws as a way to encourage affordable housing statewide. Until 10 percent of the housing in a community qualifies as affordable, the community must accept 40B projects.

Pembroke’s selectmen and zoning board claim the town has reached the 10 percent threshold — with 10.03 percent of the housing stock affordable — and submitted documentation to the DHCD on Feb. 22, according to Interim Town Manager Edwin Thorne.


The River Marsh developer appealed, saying the number is actually 9.6 percent, according to attorney Warren Baker.

The state has 30 days to decide whose calculation is correct. Baker said if the ruling is in the town’s favor, his client could then appeal to the state Housing Appeals Committee.

“The rumors of our death are premature,” Baker said. “We are not dead yet.”

The developer, Brian Murphy of Norwell, originally proposed building 68 condos on the vacant land in 2017, and came back in 2018 with the smaller plan. The town is concerned that the project is still too dense for the site and will create traffic problems and threaten the watershed and North River, Thorne said. Murphy has worked on 40B projects in Norwell, Hanover, and Hingham.

Johanna Seltz can be reached at seltzjohanna@gmail.com