Joan Williamson, whose 26 Tilden Road home is next to the development, recalls the fight.
“We went to [Housing Appeals Committee] and had meetings with lawyers and all that, but you call a lawyer on the phone and they charge you, so we ran out of money. We gave [money] on a monthly basis . . . so it really cost us quite a bit, but at least we put [the development] off for 10 years,” she said.
Williamson said she still does not like the project. The developer recently cleared a large number of trees from the woods in her backyard. “This is a little neighborhood of houses and they will put this housing project right in the middle of us all. . . . We just can’t fight it any longer. I’m 83 now. I just can’t go on anymore,” she said.
Although the project had cleared all regulatory hurdles by 2009, it stalled while the developer waited for the housing market to recover.
With construction ready to begin, the project has retained much of its original character — several two- or three-unit buildings with built-in garages — there has been one significant change neighbors appreciate. Rather than placing a large water-treatment plant on site, surrounded by 8-foot-tall concrete walls, the project will tie into the town’s sewer system.
Developer Paul Marrocco has also agreed to build a sidewalk connecting the development to the adjoining streets.
Still, John Danehey, a selectman and member of the Housing Appeals Committee, was unsure how these 40B developments would affect the town. For one thing, the density near the waterfront is apt to change, as both are within walking distance from the harbor.
However, Danehey is already optimistic about the effect on lower- and middle-income residents.
“If the townhouses are going to be one to two bedrooms, which a lot are going to be, it will increase the tax base and provide affordable housing for many people in town,” he said. “The impact on some of our institutions like schools will be marginal.”
He added that three- to four-bedroom homes, which are not common in these plans, would have a bigger impact on schools, but the net effect would still be positive because of the increase of affordable housing.
One thing the developments will not do is push the town close to the 10 percent threshold. Although all of Stockbridge Woods, and seven of Walden Woods’ 28 units, will count as affordable housing, Scituate’s percentage of affordable housing will rise to about 5.4 percent.
Jessica Bartlett can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.