SOUTH BERWICK – After more than six months of discussions and negotiations, voters in South Berwick have overwhelmingly given the go-ahead for the development of a new 28-unit apartment building for seniors.
The proposal by Avesta Housing of Portland won the support of two-thirds of those attending a special town meeting Tuesday night. The vote allows the town to enter into a purchase-and-sales agreement with Avesta for the .62 acre site on on Young Street where the development is expected to be completed by early next year.
“This projct will fulfill a real need for quality, affordable housing for area seniors,” said Dana Totman, executive director of Avesta. “But Tuesday’s vote was just the first step. We look forward to working with the town’s Planning Board on the final details to ensure that this project fits well with the community.”
The apartments will be for people ages 55 and older with an annual income of $32,000 or less for a single person, or $37,000 or less for a couple. Monthly rent for a one-bedroom apartment will be in the $720-to-$860 range, while a two-bedroom apartment will be $860 to just over $1,000 per month. All utilities will be included in the rent and there will be laundry on site. Avesta will maintain the property.
As part of the agreement with Avesta, the town will refurbish the entrance area and parking lot on the property, and add walking paths and lighting to the grounds. Avesta will lease 31 parking spots for residents from a town-owned lot currently used by the library.
The development will bring in approximately $20,000 ayear in tax revenue for the town.
Although some of the project’s neighbors asked questions and expressed concerns Tuesday night, most seemed satisfied with the answers.
“We plan on being a good neighbor,” said Totman. “That’s been our experience in towns throughout Maine and New England where we have properties like this one.”
Avesta Housing is celebrating 40 years of providing and advocating for affordable housing. An award-winning agency, Avesta has grown to become the largest nonprofit developer in Northern New England and one of the country’s most innovative leaders in affordable housing. Avesta manages a portfolio of over 1,900 apartments in 31 Maine communities including Portland, Windham, Bridgton, Rockland and Kennebunk.