Affordable Housing Development Halted Due to Environmental Pollution

January 15, 2011 / Russell Legato, Residential Property Analyst

A long environmental study completed by Bennett Environmental Associates, for the town of Harwich— a New England town on Cape Cod, in Barnstable County, Massachusetts concerning the dysfunctional West Harwich School and the proposed affordable housing development in the site. The report concluded that the school site contains environmental pollutants and needs further study before the affordable housing development is built on the site.

Affordable Housing Development Halted Due to Environmental Pollution

Following the recommendation, Harwich hired Bennett last week to conduct additional environmental analysis on the school site dedicated for the affordable housing development for the next couple of months.

Bennett Environmental Associates conducts the study for an expected cost of $4,944.

The town of Harwich’s plan for an affordable housing development, which will consists of dozens of low-cost housing units has been halted because of the site’s underground pollution.

Bennett concluded in its evaluation that the site’s environmental issue and concern might negatively affect the environmental condition or value of the property in question and the planned affordable housing development.

The only building in the property was constructed in around 1870, which was utilized as a primary school until the 1940’s. After used for various purposes, in 1973 the building became Harwich youth center.

The old elementary school building has been shuttered since 1990’s.

The cause of the contamination was first discovered in 1997 where high level of chlorinated solvents concentration is found in the soil. Tetrachloroethylene or TCE is known to cause cancer and Parkinson’s disease, according to experts.

Until further test and recommendations, the planned affordable housing development in the town will not be pursued.

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