TOPSHAM — A proposed 38-unit affordable housing project proposed to be built next to the Topsham Crossing subdivision was unanimously approved by the planning board Tuesday.

Now, the $10.8 million housing project proposed by Topsham Housing Authority needs funding before it can go forward. John Hodge, the executive director of Brunswick and Topsham housing authorities, said construction isn’t expected to begin until 2022.

Topsham Housing Authority is seeking a tax break agreement with the town of Topsham, which would go before voters at the town meeting in May. Hodge said the project will pay property taxes and those proceeds will be shared between the town and the developer. The developer uses the funds to pay the debt on the project and the town uses its share to make improvements to public infrastructure.

That proposed tax break agreement will be discussed by Topsham selectmen on Thursday.

Seacoast Management Co., the developer of the 36-unit River Landing affordable senior housing project at 29 Elm St., penned tax break agreement, which was approved at a 2013 town meeting. That deal was designed to rebate 50% of property taxes to the developer for 17 years, contemplating two years of construction time and 15 years of operation.

The Topsham Housing Authority is proposing a 38-unit apartment complex that would consist of three- and four-bedroom apartments. The townhouse-style rental properties would be located on 12 acres initially slated to be the final phase of the Topsham Crossing subdivision off Tedford Road. The owner decided to sell the land rather than complete the final phase with 38 houses.


While rent rates depend on how the project gets funded, Hodge said the two-bedroom apartments are expected to go for up to $1,195 a month and up to $1,575 a month for the three-bedrooms. Hodge said those rates, which include utilities, are the ceiling, “and we hope that the rents will be less than that.”

Because the local market tends to cater to seniors and singles, Hodge said the housing authority made a conscious decision to develop new units for families.

“We have many families who are working but still receive rental assistance through a voucher but those voucher holders can’t find rentals because rentals are above what those vouchers are for,” Hodge said. “The market has left them behind.”

According to the Maine Housing Authority, 52.8% or 2,024 out of 3,836 total rental households in Sagadahoc County are unable to afford a median two-bedroom rent, estimated at $1,011 in the year 2020. An affordable rent for a two-bedroom rental based on the median income in Sagadahoc County is listed at $944.

Hodge said the Topsham Housing Authority will apply for funding through the Maine State Housing’s low-income housing tax credit program and through the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston’s affordable housing program.

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