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Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette Logo Berlin, Ocean Pines News Worcester County Bayside Gazette


Cannery Village nearing completion

(Nov. 19, 2015) Despite a series of small setbacks, plans for the new affordable housing community Cannery Village are on track, according to developer Andrew Hanson of Osprey Property Company.
Hanson, who visited the site on Monday, said the first wave of residents should be able to move into the $14 million, 44-townhome complex during the next few weeks. Total build-out, originally slated for this year, is now expected to finish in February.
He added that work on the main road into the development, off Flower Street in Berlin, recently wrapped up and the first six houses now have power.
“It’s really shaping up,” Hanson said. “There are some moving parts and variables, but I think we would love folks to move in in the next few weeks if the weather cooperates and we can get some of the issues resolved.”
Part of the problem, Hanson said, is the first six houses do not have water yet because of a problem with Cannery’s pump station.
“Obviously, no one can move in if there’s no water,” he said. “That’s one of those little challenges that we run into.”
Hanson said more than 100 people have applied for homes at Cannery. Thus far, 10 have been approved and another 50 are pending while their paperwork is still being reviewed. Forty applicants have been declined outright.
Each applicant must pay a nonrefundable fee of $30 per adult, which Hanson said goes toward the cost of running criminal and credit checks.
The average rent at Cannery, according to Hanson, is approximately $800.
One of the more unusual features of the complex is its lease-to-own program, which allows residents to buy a townhouse after a 15-year stay. Hanson said $360 per year of the residents’ rent would go toward that purchase in order to cover closing costs and settlement fees.
“If someone moves in next month or in 2016 and lives there for 15 years, they’d have over $5,000 to use when they buy,” Hanson said.
The 45th unit in the complex, a community center, will be donated to Habitat for Humanity of Worcester once the other 44 units are sold. Until then, Habitat will keep an office in the center and provide information to residents interested in the rent-to-own program.
Berlin’s Town Council approved a pilot agreement for the project in November last year. At the time, Hanson said construction could begin in December. That was eventually pushed back to late May, when shovels first went into the ground.
“It’s been a challenge,” Hanson said. “It’s not the best soil, which we somewhat expected, but we’ve had a lot of rain.
“The ironic thing is the houses have been pretty far along, but obviously you can’t move people into a house that doesn’t have water or sewer or a paved road or anything else,” Hanson added.
Stormwater regulations in Berlin have also been a challenge.
“That was probably the most lengthy process that we had to deal with as we were waiting for approval to get started,” Hanson said. “Our engineer had to create a stormwater management plan, which is really a design of ways to address stormwater on the site, as well as a written plan as to how we could conform to the requirements.”
Hanson said he submitted three-to-four plans before the town engineer approved one.
During constructions, two ponds were built to trap water and sediment. Hanson said those would eventually be converted from sediment traps to “full-blown stormwater management systems” by the end of construction.
“Those are designed to have the stormwater flow into them, hold it so that the sediment flows to the bottom and then slowly the water percolates down into the soil,” Hanson said.
The systems were designed to withstand a substantial downpour – or “10-year storm.” Anything larger would flow into the Kits Branch, which drains into Trappe Creek.
Hanson, a Salisbury native, said he’s paid special attention to make Cannery Village into a part of the neighborhood of Berlin.
“I think we’ve done a really nice job of building single-family homes that really blend in with the character of Flower Street and blend in with the character of the town,” he said.
“It’s smaller scale, it’s 45 lots total, and folks can rent for the first 15 years and improve their credit and establish a down payment and have a nice place to call their own that has their own driveway, their own front door, their own back porch and patio.
“We’re hoping they’re going to take a real sense of pride and be involved and interested in the lease-to-own program, and participate in education about budgeting and maintenance so that in year 16 they’re all ready to go. Really, we’re sort of showing a new way to provide affordable housing that’s not just going to be rental for an infinite time. It’s a new way to convert and create ownership opportunities,” Hanson continued.
Hanson also encouraged people to continue applying by visiting the Cannery Village offices inside the visitor’s center 14 South Main Street, or on the web at
“With it being small town, I know we’ve made some mistakes along the way,” he said. “It’s never easy when you’ve got a pretty major construction project next to homes that have been there for a long, long time. We appreciate the patience of the neighborhood and the community, and we’re excited to be a part of it once we get everything completed and opened.”