Submitted by Tim Bennett
After reading Mr. Madison’s Sept. 13th Letter to the Editor, his “analysis” left me in a state of disbelief. His purported cost-benefit analysis seems deliberately tailored to minimize the benefits while maximizing the costs. He minimizes the impact of programs like MassWorks, which granted the town $3,000,000 in 2022, and the Capital Projects funds, which amounted to $3,927,797 according to the town’s most recent budget. By refusing to do cursory research on these, he is able to dismiss it out of hand.
Mr. Madison greatly exaggerates the cost to taxpayers of new units. The 2020 census puts 24 percent of residents at <18 and the population of those <5 at about 4 percent.
This means that ~20 percent of all residents are in our schools. The average household size is 2.5, so with 750 additional units we will have 1875 new residents, and 375 more students. Accepting his statistic of $18,000/student, this means an extra $6,750,000 towards schools, a quarter of his $27,000,000 estimate.
As for his points about property taxes on this new development, Mr. Madison dismisses the property taxes that could be reaped by claiming the property values will be low. Using the developer’s presentation, 8 of 12 duplexes in the development will be sold, with ¾ of these being sold at market rate. This means we will have about six duplexes sold at market rate, which a review of recent sales at Kendall Court reveals go for roughly $800-900,000.
Using the Albion Road townhouse development as a model, the approximately eight townhouses for sale at market rate will each fetch another $800-900,000. All told, these valuations are hardly low as he suggests and are appraised higher than many single-family homes, such as 29 Fox Run Rd.
Nonetheless, even if we ignore the taxes this development will reap and only look at the costs to the town against the money would be ineligible for, the estimated $6,927,797+ we will lose access to is greater than a more accurate estimate for increased schooling costs.
The increased economic diversity and effective use of land represented by affordable housing and apartments as well as access to the MBTA, one of the most robust systems in the country, are simply icing on top of an already great deal for the community.