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A JOINT EFFORT. Benfield Farms Celebrates with Ribbon Cutting

Betsy Fell

Selectman John Williams (left) and Housing Authority Chair Alan Lehotsky (center) together wield one pair of scissors while Toby Kramer of the Neighborhood for Affordable Housing (NOAH) applies a second pair to the task and NOAH Executive Director Phil Giffee steadies the ribbon during the ribbon cutting celebration for the Benfield Farms senior housing project held on Tuesday, May 8. Housing, banking and local officials pictured are (left to right): Judy Jacobson, Liz Gruber, Greg Comeau, Roger Herzog, Williams, Peter Shaffer, Lehotsky, Tom Gleason, Kramer, Barbara Fields, Michael Clarke, Elizabeth DeMille Barnett and Giffee. (Photo by Beth Clarke)

Benfield Farms residents celebrated with the developers, state and local dignitaries at a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday morning, May 13 to mark completion of the 26-unit senior housing project on South Street. Tenants began moving into the building in March.
About half of the apartments are currently occupied, according to one of the Benfield residents, and three of the remaining vacant units were open for inspection during the event. Five of the 26 units are reserved for low-income households under 30% of the Area Median Income (AMI), 17 apartments are for households at or below 60% AMI and four units are for households with up to 100% AMI.

Executive Director of MassHousing Tom Gleason talks with Carlisle Affordable Housing Trust Chair Greg Peterson at the Benfield Farms celebration on May 13.

The project is the result of a collaboration of the town with the non-profit development corporation Neighborhood of Affordable Housing (NOAH). Also working on the project were DiMella Shaffer Architects, general contractor Dellbrook Construction and civil engineers, Meridian Associates. Peabody Properties has been hired to manage the property.

LEED gold certification sought Building certification at the LEED for Homes gold level is being sought from the U.S. Green Building Council, according to a press release at the ribbon cutting. Various factors that constrained the building site to the front of the property may have had the side effect of increasing the project’s energy efficiency, by reducing paving and other infrastructure. NOAH noted other energy efficient details: “One hundred percent of the storm water will be channeled away from wetlands and used to recharge groundwater. Landscaping is designed with native, drought-tolerant plants that will not require irrigation once established. The lack of gas utilities near the site (over two miles away) resulted in an all-electric heating and cooling system using Mitsubishi mini-splits to provide high-efficiency energy. As a way to save on the future costs of electricity, the project is investing in a solar PV system. A well-insulated building envelope will reduce the need for heating and cooling. ENERGY STAR lighting and appliances were installed. Ducted exhaust fans in kitchens and baths will control moisture and odors. A laundry center will have ENERGY STAR high-efficiency equipment, with hot water supplied by a high-efficiency heat pump water heater.”

Residents, officials and other visitors gather in the first-floor lobby to enjoy food and conversation during the Benfield Farms celebration on May 13.

The total cost of the project was approximately $9.8 million. The town provided a loan of $425,000 in Community Preservation Act funding, and through the Carlisle Housing Authority signed a 99-year lease with Benfield Farms LP for the 4.4-acre site. Additional financing involved state and federal Low Income Housing Tax Credits equity and mortgage funding by the Bank of America Merrill Lynch, the Department of Housing and Community Development and the Mass Housing Partnership.