Friday, March 5, 1999
Affordable housing proposal snags selectmen's attention
Housing authority chair Marty Galligan had the selectmen's full attention on February 23 when he submitted his proposed Warrant article to spend $40,000 for the purpose of planning and design of up to 12 units of affordable housing on the Conant Land. Galligan elaborated that this project essentially revitalizes a portion of the affordable housing plan for the Conant Land which was defeated at Town Meeting in 1990.
"If we don't do this, we're dead," commented selectman John Ballantine. Ballantine was referring to Carlisle's ability to control developments under the state local initiative program (LIP), which allows a developer to circumvent local zoning rules if a town does not have at least ten percent affordable housing. Based on discussions with state personnel, certain members of the housing authority and board of selectmen believe that affirmative progress toward increasing Carlisle's affordable housing stock might strengthen the town's bargaining power when deciding whether to grant a particular LIP application.
"If we go ahead with this project," said Galligan, "we won't be able to prevent every LIP, but we can maybe prevent every third LIP." Carlisle has only 1.21 percent affordable housing, consisting of the 18 units of senior housing at Carlisle Village. There are also nine in-law apartments in town, but they cannot be counted as affordable housing. Galligan said that if the housing authority were to file the necessary paperwork on those units, he suspected that only three might qualify.
The proposed Conant Land project would be targeted toward families. The $40,000 called for in the Warrant article would not duplicate certain engineering costs incurred in the 1990 project, such as septic system location, which can be carried forward to the new project.
Selectman Doug Stevenson said dryly, "This will bring the discussion of affordable housing to the floor of Town Meeting."
© 1999 The Carlisle Mosquito