Friday, November 25, 2005
Housing Authority gears up for action
With Commonwealth approval of Carlisle's long-term affordable housing plan, the pressure is now on to produce the housing (see: State approves Carlisle's housing plan, November 11). The Carlisle Housing Authority (CHA) hopes to play a key role.
Members of the CHA met on November 17 to brainstorm ideas for possible new affordable housing, examine the Coventry Woods and Laurel Hollow 40B developments and initiate discussion of accessory apartments. Chapter 40B is a state statute that allows developers to build higher density housing than that allowed under local zoning, as long as at least 25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions.
Accessory apartments can be counted towards a town's stock of affordable housing if they meet state-approved criteria for documentation and administration. Once Carlisle can meet these requirements, it is hoped that existing accessory apartments may be counted towards the town's state-mandated goal that 10% of the housing stock is affordable (see The Other Affordable Housing: Accessory Apartments, in the April 15 issue.)
Susan Stamps suggested that town-owned lots that are under an acre (and therefore considered "unbuildable") might be used for affordable housing. Houses could be built by Habitat for Humanity or might be provided by developers who would otherwise demolish them to make way for new homes. CHA will explore this possibility with the help of the Board of Assessors.
Alan Lehotsky, CHA chairman, objected to some of the developer's plans for the 14 affordable units at Coventry Woods. As a result, the CHA planned to ask ZBA to instruct the developer to
• use the CHA-recommended local-preference list for the housing lottery
• apply no age restriction to the affordable units and
• make 25 % of the affordable units end units, thus ensuring that they are identical to the market-rate ones in every respect.
When the Coventry Woods units actually become available was a matter of some concern. The Affordable Housing Plan commits Carlisle to producing 12 units every year for the next 10 years (see: Housing Plan goes to state, in the July 1 issue, available in the online archive at www.carlislemosquito.org). In the first year that Carlisle does not submit permits for building 12 units, the town will lose its exemption from 40B developer applications. For the next two years, 16 of the 24 units are expected to be provided by private (40B) development and the remaining eight from accessory apartments. This puts pressure on the town to expedite these 40B developments.
© 2005 The