Friday, April 15, 2005
The other affordable housing: accessory apartments
Affordable accessory apartments could provide another means for Carlisle to meet the 10% affordable housing requirements of Chapter 40B. At their April 2 meeting, Selectmen drafted an application to the Community Preservation Act Committee requesting $10,000 of CPA funds to support the first stage of establishing procedure, documentation, and administration of affordable accessory-apartments.
In the application, Selectmen noted that Carlisle now has 1,655 housing units, almost all of which are owner-occupied, single-family houses on lots that are typically at least two acres with average values well above $700,000. The escalating housing market is attracting greater attention from private developers interested in Chapter 40B development and causing towns to recognize that different strategies are required to better plan for housing development. The town would like to protect its zoning rules and regulations and one attractive strategy that could have an immediate impact is creation of affordable accessory-apartment units.
Carlisle is required to produce affordable housing equal to 10% of its total housing stock and protection comes from achieving 0.75% of this goal each year (12-14 units) or 1.5% (24-28 units) biannually. Within Carlisle's current housing stock, there are a number of homes that have accessory apartments or which could be reasonably modified to create affordable accessory housing units. Such affordable accessory apartments are the most readily available and least costly source of affordable housing, which is why the Selectmen are requesting funds to take the first step.
Most of the necessary regulations, legal documents and deed riders are available from the Department of Housing and Development Commission. It is expected that once the program becomes operational, it will function under the auspices of the Carlisle Housing Authority.
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