Thorndike Place FAQs

What do you mean by ‘Affordable’ Housing?

25% of the units will be set aside as Low or Moderate Income Housing for Income Eligible Households earning no more than 80% of area median income as adjusted for house size for the Boston-Cambridge-Quincy HMFA.

What is the Town's view on a need for more housing, especially affordable housing?

In 2016, the Town adopted the Arlington Housing Production Plan. Based on data analysis, town resident feedback, and public input, Arlington has set the following housing priorities for the next five years:

Expand the housing supply

The number of Arlington households has increased in recent years and is projected to do so at a faster rate going forward, which corresponds with greater demand for housing units. Arlington’s housing market is extremely tight, with a vacancy rate of 4% overall and 0 owner-occupied vacancies. This limits opportunities for current residents to move within town and for new residents to move in, and increases prices of both for-sale and rental units. According to MAPC (Metropolitan Area Planning Council) projections through 2020, several hundred additional units could be added to the Arlington housing supply to meet demand, thereby helping to alleviate inflated for-sale and rental prices.

Diversify the housing supply

Arlington’s population is aging. Projections indicate the senior population will continue to grow, requiring housing that’s located in proximity to services, physically accessible, and is otherwise suitable to their needs. Arlington is home to a range of household types, each of which has unique housing needs. A majority of households are families with children, which tend to require larger units. Despite the high number of family households in town, average household size is projected to shrink in coming years. Smaller households and senior households looking to downsize need smaller units so that they are not over-housed, which presents maintenance and cost challenges. Arlington is home to a significant low-income population. The town has 1,121 deed restricted affordable units, but there are about 5,185 potentially eligible households. Many of these households are elderly. More than a third of Arlington households are cost burdened, including those with extremely-low, very low, low, and middle incomes, indicating the need for more housing at multiple price points. According to Town government and residents, there is much interest in seeing mixed use development in commercial corridors near services and transit.

Update the existing housing stock

Arlington’s housing is older—1 in 2 housing units was built prior to 1939—and there is evidence that much of the housing stock is in need of updating. Between 2013 and 2015, there were 56 tear downs in town, indicating those units did not suit the market demand. Between 2000 and 2014, 1,460 rental units were converted to condos, which has reduce the supply of rental housing and pushes rents up due to unmet demand.

Will this project cause more flooding for the areas around the development?

Best management practices will be implemented in accordance with a Stormwater Pollution Prevention Plan and the system will be designed to treat the required water quality volume and water recharge volume and so that post-discharge rates do not exceed pre-development rates.

Much of the site is designated floodplain area, and owing to neglect and lack of maintenance, an embankment on the locus currently damns even distribution of water, thereby resulting in surface waters in significant rain events to flow onto adjacent neighborhood streets and neighborhood.

Will open space be accessible to the community or just residents of the development?

The 11 acres of open space being preserved as part of this development will be accessible to the community of Arlington.

The property is presently undeveloped and overgrown, with demonstrable illegal dumping activity and makeshift homeless camps upon the site.

In addition, the Town has unsuccessfully sought to acquire the lands on at least two occasions in the past. Through this application, the Town not only can achieve preservation of nearly 2/3 of the site, but it also achieves such result without funding the purchase of the lands through CPA or other funding mechanisms.

How will the town be affected by a potential increase in cars from new residents?

Recent data from other developments in the area with tenant occupancy similar to what we anticipate shows that 73% of residents commute using something else besides driving - bike, public transportation, walk, etc.