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June 27, 2019

Four MetroWest towns doing fair share to add housing

Photo | Grant Welker Homes under construction at Legacy Farms in Hopkinton helped the town become one of few across Greater Boston found by the Boston Foundation to be approving enough new homes to keep up with demand.

Four MetroWest towns are among a relatively small number of communities in the Boston area adding enough new housing to keep up with demand, according to a report by the Boston Foundation.

Boxborough, Hopkinton, Littleton and Sudbury are on that list for what the foundation measured as communities' recent track record of permitting for new housing compared to its existing housing stock. Of 147 communities across the region, 19 made the foundation's distinction of building enough homes — or doing their fair share, as the foundation put it.

The Boston Foundation's report this week raised a new alarm at the region's slow growth in adding new homes, even as prices reach new highs and the region continually adds new jobs.

The foundation says the region must add more than 21,000 new housing units each year by 2025 to keep pace with demand, while Gov. Charlie Baker has pitched a bill calling for 135,000 new housing units statewide by 2025. Massachusetts would have to nearly double its home construction pace of recent years to hit that number.

Boxborough and Hopkinton landed first and second, respectively, on the Boston Foundation's list for communities permitting the most new housing. Both communities have had major residential construction projects in recent years.

Boxborough — aided in the foundation's calculations by its small size, with around 5,000 residents — has seen the completion of Paddock Estates, a 244-unit apartment complex that opened in 2017, while residents have fought against a proposal calling for 100 units off Massachusetts Avenue in the center of town.

In Hopkinton, projects underway include 425 homes at Legacy Farms and The Trails, a 180-unit over-55 development. Both developments are taking place north of Weston Nurseries near the Ashland line.

Littleton developments include Durkee Farms Estates, a 50-unit project within walking distance of the Littleton/495 commuter rail station, while Sudbury includes Meadow Walk, a Route 20 mixed-use development with 250 apartments.

The Boston Foundation report looked at a five-county area including Middlesex County, which covers much of MetroWest. Worcester County was not included.

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