Small apartment complex proposed on Bristol's Chestnut Street

Developer’s plan has 16 small apartments, with 4 of them designated as affordable housing

By Scott Pickering
Posted 3/31/21

A Bristol development company is moving forward with plans originally put together about six years ago to build a small cluster of 16 apartments near the intersection of Hope and Chestnut streets, …

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Small apartment complex proposed on Bristol's Chestnut Street

Developer’s plan has 16 small apartments, with 4 of them designated as affordable housing

Posted

A Bristol development company is moving forward with plans originally put together about six years ago to build a small cluster of 16 apartments near the intersection of Hope and Chestnut streets, across from the Benjamin Church Manor senior housing complex.

The application from Nunes Property Management LLC calls for two, three-level buildings, with eight apartments in each. Four of the 16 apartments in “Chestnut Place” would be restricted for low-income tenants.

The buildings are designed to have drive-under garages on the first level (one per apartment), with single-level apartments of about 750 square feet of living space each on the upper levels. All would be two-bedroom units.

Chestnut Place would be accessible from a short entryway off of Chestnut Street, leading to a small cul de sac in front of the two buildings. The whole complex would sit on about three and a half acres of undeveloped land.

The Bristol Planning Board has scheduled a public hearing and review of the master plan for next Thursday, April 8.

The Nunes proposal goes back to 2015, when it was first analyzed as a site for affordable housing in Bristol. The late Augustine “Gus” Nunes, who died in 2019, and his wife, Lynda Nunes, first received approval from the State Housing Appeals Board back in 2017. But Mr. Nunes’ illness and death postponed the development, which is now being managed by his widow.

The site to be developed borders three other Nunes properties, all facing Hope Street, at 1040, 1044 and 1055 Hope St. Chestnut Place would sit on its own lot, distinct from those properties.

The developer submitted multiple studies in support of the application for town approvals. A traffic study concluded there would be no adverse impact from this development, as the majority of traffic problems or accidents in this area occur on Hope Street, not on Chestnut Street, where these tenants would enter and exit the complex.

Last summer, the Rhode Island Department of Environmental Management (DEM) reviewed the plan and determined that it would have no significant impact on the nearby Silver Creek watershed, provided that the developer follows its plans for proper soil, grading, drainage, retaining walls and plantings.

William J. McGovern of Northeast Real Estate Appraisal Professionals conducted a housing market analysis back in 2015 that supported the need for affordable housing in Bristol. Mr. McGovern, now retired, updated his analysis and re-submitted it earlier this week. He concluded: “Given current and foreseeable market conditions, this project is not only needed, but it also contributes significantly to relieving the existing housing shortage in the Town of Bristol.”

To qualify as “affordable,” rents on the low- to moderate-income apartments cannot exceed 30 percent of the gross income for a family earning 80 percent of the the area median income, minus utility costs, as established by HUD for the Providence Metropolitan Statistical Area. These four apartments would be deed-restricted to remain “affordable” for a minimum of 30 years. The East Bay Community Development Corp., based in Bristol, is expected to be the monitoring agency to affirm compliance with the rental requirements.

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A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.