A continuing debate a potential affordable housing project
in northern Westford will continue following an update at last week’s Board of
There, Westford Affordable Housing Committee chairman Paul Cully informed the Selectmen on his board’s work to date regarding a possible affordable housing complex on the Edwards Parcel, with a citizen’s petition scheduled at Town Meeting to transfer custody of the property to the Affordable Housing Committee.
The 40 acre parcel, which is currently under the custody of the Selectmen, is currently an undeveloped rocky forested area bordered by Tyngsboro Road, Forest Road and Kayla Drive.
To date, both boards have investigated the feasibility of using 3.2 acres of the parcel for possible affordable housing, but Cully told the board that the possible developers contacted to date either could not meet the criteria recommended for the project or were not interested.
On that note, and in addition to the possibility that the entire property would go into a conservation restriction due to concerns of abutters, Cully requested additional feedback from the Selectmen on which path his board should take next regarding the project.
The Selectmen reiterated their view from earlier meetings that any development would have to blend in with the neighborhood, as well as stating the project would have to be far less than the possible 25 units discussed by one of the possible developers.
Selectman Jim Sullivan also requested a financial analysis prior to construction of the buildings to see if they are even needed due to the slower than expected occupation of Cottages in the Woods, an affordable housing complex on Boston Road near Exit 32.
Opinions from abutters ranged from the hopes that nothing be done at all to the property to accepting limited development if that could provide a conclusion to continued conjecture over the Edwards Parcel’s future.
“I’ve been living there close to 20 years and this is the fifth time someone has wanted to do something with the property,” said Peter Ensi of 4 Kayla Drive during the meeting. “ If you put in housing, that does ruin the wildlife habitat, it’s rocky and there are wetlands up there. (But) it’d be good to do something in writing to peel and put the rest into conservation, but it’d be nice to settle this once and for all.”
The Selectmen postponed a recommendation on the warrant article, rescheduling the topic until September 24.