The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, March 1, 2002


Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. dissolves

The Carlisle Board of Selectmen noted at their February 12 meeting that Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. was in the process of disbanding and was donating its $700 in assets to the town.

Edward Sonn, president of the private, not-for-profit organization, was interviewed later by telephone. He said, "There is very definitely a need for affordable housing. The town itself needs to get more committed to this."

Sonn explained that a private, not-for-profit organization can be helpful in developing affordable housing in two ways. First, since it is not a public entity, it would not be subject to state public bidding and wage regulations, and so might be able to build affordable housing with lower expenses. Also, as a private organization, it can file a "friendly" comprehensive permit to facilitate building housing at a density greater than Carlisle's normal two-acre zoning allows. The Carlisle Housing Authority can also file comprehensive permits, though the Town of Carlisle cannot. On the other hand, Sonn said that the town is able to borrow money at lower municipal rates.

Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. was founded in the 1980s. The organization never completed the paperwork required by the IRS to obtain a non-profit, 501(c)(3) classification, and therefore donations to Carlisle Affordable Housing, Inc. were not fully tax deductible.

Sonn said that the group was dormant for several years in the 1990s, but rejuvenated about two years ago, and helped the Carlisle Housing Authority with the proposal to build affordable housing on the Conant Land. Town Meeting voted down that project, after which proponents of affordable housing in Carlisle turned their attention to the Town Forest land. When the exact boundaries and legal status of the Town Forest came into doubt, the prospects of locating affordable housing on that land dimmed.

2002 The Carlisle Mosquito