Soldier On looks to build housing for female veterans on West Housatonic Street

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PITTSFIELD — An engineer for the veteran housing nonprofit Soldier On appeared before the Zoning Board of Appeals on Wednesday to request a permit to bring a 14-unit residential affordable housing project for female veterans to West Housatonic Street.

James Scalise, president of S-K Design Group, told the Zoning Board that the proposed two-story, 8,850-square-foot building at 402 West Housatonic would be located in the same area as the Gordon H. Mansfield Veterans Community for men in transition, which was completed in 2010, but the new project would be permanent housing and the residents would own shares in the building.

"It's a project that is very cohesive with the neighborhood," he said.

Scalise requested an additional 12 parking spots for the new building but doesn't expect to need them all, because only about 50 percent of residents in Soldier On's other housing projects require parking.

If the project is approved, Soldier On would have to demolish a wood-framed house that is on the 1.6-acre parcel before it is built in its footprint, Scalise said.

Soldier On also runs a 16-unit transitional housing program for female veterans in Leeds. The Pittsfield building would be an option for those women when they are ready to move on to more permanent housing, Scalise said. The permanent units, which would be about 450 to 490 square feet each, are intended for families with an income of less than $26,000 a year, according to Scalise.

The only public comment was from David DeGiorgis, of 418 West Housatonic St., who is concerned that the current utility lines for the proposed building run through his backyard.

"Our goal is to either coordinate with you to where you're satisfied, or, if not. we'll go another way," Scalise said.

The construction, at the earliest, would begin around this time next year, he said.

The Zoning Board of Appeals continued the hearing until its Nov. 15 meeting.


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