North & South Rivers Watershed Association

Pembroke 40B Housing Project Update

NSRWA Executive Director Samantha Woods met with an abutter to the proposed 40b Development on Water St. in Pembroke on Monday afternoon regarding the 56 unit housing project being proposed on the North River.

A group of concerned citizens has come together to form the group Cap’n River or Citizen’s Against Polluting the North River. They have developed a website, capnriver.com and also have a petition now signed by almost 2,500 people. To date NSRWA has sent 2 letters to MassHousing specific to the environmental concerns of placing this dense development abutting the North River, coordinated with legislators and the town of Pembroke, and submitted our own petition. We will keep you updated as we hear more.

As it stands right now we are all awaiting the decision from MassHousing Authority – hopefully soon.  A similar project was proposed and denied by MassHousing for this site in 2005, we are hoping they come to the same conclusion this time.  If MassHousing allows it will be a long and protracted battle with lawyers, scientists and engineers providing review of the project.

History of the Project

The developer of the River Marsh 40B project at 274 Water Street in Pembroke initially submitted a proposal for 68 units of townhouse condominium style housing to MassHousing for site eligibility in January 2017.  An amended application was resubmitted to the state Housing Authority over the summer with a negligible reduction in the number of units from the first proposal. The River Marsh LLC proposal is now to develop 56 townhouse condominium style housing units instead of the original 68 unit proposal. This amended proposal shows no attempt to address any of the substantive environmental issues identified in the first proposal.  Specifically, environmental impacts related to this proposal stem from the size, intensity and footprint of this development abutting and on top of unique and sensitive wetland resource areas and endangered species habitat. This environmentally sensitive site should simply not be considered for such intensive development.

The stance of the NSRWA is that the environmental issues are still relevant and we have told Mass Housing that we still think they should deny them permission to build. The town of Pembroke has done a wonderful job of putting together their comment letter and is working in concert with us to make our collective voices heard.

The town website has information on the 40B and the developers’ submissions and town’s responses.  To read more about the proposed project and the Pembroke Board of Selectmen’s response click here. To read the NSRWA Comment Letter to Mass Housing on the amended project click here. To see our original letter to Mass Housing click here.

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