Dresser Woods plan proposes 20 affordable units

A slideshow at the Feb. 20 public hearing showed design concepts for the multi-family homes at the proposed Dresser Woods affordable housing complex in Salisbury.

Salisbury Housing Committee

Dresser Woods plan proposes 20 affordable units

SALISBURY — The Planning and Zoning Commission (PZC) opened a public hearing on the Dresser Woods affordable housing complex application Tuesday, Feb. 20 (online).

PZC Chair Michael Klemens said at the outset that the hearing will be continued at the commission’s Monday, March 18, meeting.

Jocelyn Ayer spoke for the applicant, the Salisbury Housing Committee (SHC), which is a private nonprofit organization that owns and operates affordable housing properties in Salisbury, including Sarum Village. Ayer is vice president of the SHC.

The plan for Dresser Woods — named for Jim Dresser, who donated the land to the SHC — will have 20 rental units in nine buildings at the site at 37 Railroad St. in Salisbury village.

The plans showed six one-bedroom units, 10 two-bedroom units, and four three-bedroom units. Three are compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Plans call for 31 parking spaces (10 in an overflow area). The application notes this is an average of 1.5 parking spaces per unit, more than required by zoning regulations and similar to other affordable housing complexes in nearby towns.

Traffic engineer Scott Keskith explained the methodology of the traffic study used to project the effect of additional traffic on Railroad, Academy and Library streets and on Main Street (Route 44). He concluded that there would be “virtually no impact to the existing roadway network” if Dresser Woods opened for residents in 2025.

Architect Erin Benken said the design is a “pocket neighborhood” that is walkable and has outdoor spaces for children to play and residents to relax, plus larger spaces for the entire neighborhood to use.

The plan does not call for development of the entire 5.3-acre site. Half of the site will remain undeveloped. These areas include wetlands and vernal pools.

Klemens reiterated that the hearing would continue March 18, and with the clock ticking, suggested the commissioners should ask questions to be answered in the future.

He started off by asking for details about the wildlife fencing mentioned in the plan, and asked that it be extended to protect another vernal pool. He also asked about putting the undeveloped portion of the site into permanent conservation, and asked about plans for lawns and for water service.

Other members asked about possibly reconfiguring the roadways for deliveries and about the cost of adding full basements for storage and utility hookups.

During public comment, Robin Roraback, who is also a contributing writer to The Millerton News, asked about a traffic study that includes all potential affordable housing development in Salisbury, including the Sarum Village expansion, the Pope property, and Grove Street.

Keith Stein wondered if modular construction was feasible for the development.

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