This elevation rendering by CHA Architecture of Portland shows the Adams Point affordable housing proposal. The Biddeford City Council approved a contract zone for the 39 unit Biddeford Housing Authority project at 69 Adams St. at a recent meeting. Courtesy Image

BIDDEFORD — More than three dozen affordable apartment units are a step closer to being built following approval of a contract zone Oct. 5 for Adams Point by the Biddeford City Council.

The project is an entity of Biddeford Housing Authority’s Southern Maine Affordable Homes arm called Adams Point LP. The 39-unit project would be located on 1.54 vacant acres at the far end of Adams Street. In all, there would be 13 one-bedroom units; 17 two-bedroom units; eight three-bedroom units and one four-bedroom unit. Tenants would have incomes in the range of 30 to 60 percent of area median income.

The site abuts a Biddeford Housing Authority property on Birch Street.

To move forward, the project requires a contract zone due to the height of the building — the current zone limit is 35 feet, and the five-story building would be 60 feet high — a reduction in the number of required onsite parking spaces, and for the density of units proposed. A Tax Increment Financing District agreement  was approved by the City Council in September. The project also received a 30-year, 75 percent credit enhancement agreement. City Manager James Bennett told the Biddeford City Council Sept. 21 that the CEA and TIF were necessary to receive low-income tax credits through Maine Housing.

Councilor Marc Lessard questioned the reduction in parking spaces and said he believed there should be one space per unit. The plan calls for 32 spaces for 39 units, a reduction of 7 spaces.

Biddeford Housing Authority Director Guy Gagnon said he did not believe the reduction in spaces would be a problem and noted other BHA housing projects also had fewer spaces than the number of units.

“If we’re setting goals to support workforce housing and a regional transportation structure, we do have to put our money where our mouth is,” said Councilor Amy Clearwater. She went on to say she expected there would be some available  on street parking in the area and that there would be some tenants who do not have vehicles. She noted the 1.54-acre site is “very tight.”

“Like anything, there are tradeoffs, and to me it is imperative to get those 39 units,” said Councilor William Emhiser,

Councilor Ashanti Williams asked about public transportation.

Gagnon said there is a stop at the corner of Birch and Alfred streets, “a close walk,” to Adams Point.

Councilor Norman Belanger noted the reduction was only seven spaces. “The tradeoff for affordable housing is very worth it for me,” he said.

The vote to approve the contract zone was unanimous.

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