The Carlisle Mosquito Online

Friday, August 4, 2006


Interest stirs for Affordable Accessory Apartments

David Ziehler of Acton Street came to the July 17 meeting of the Carlisle Housing Authority (CHA) wanting to know more about the Affordable Accessory Apartments (AAA) that Carlisle hopes to authorize as part of the Affordable Housing Plan submitted to the state last year. (See Mosquito, July 1, 2005, "Affordable housing plan goes to the state".)

At the May Town Meeting, the town approved a zoning amendment and a $90,000 appropriation from CPA (Community Preservation Act) moneys to be used to fund as many as six AAA apartments. The CHA can either make a one-time loan of $15,000 per apartment, "forgiven at a rate of $1,000 per year as long as they remain in the AAA program," or dispense a $1,000-per-year subsidy.

Ziehler asked several questions:

Q: Would the $15,000 payment from the town be taxable as income? The answer was yes.

Q: What about an existing accessory apartment with a current tenant who would qualify for income limits? Can the tenant remain? The CHA did not know for sure, but thought it should be okay.

Q: What if there were no prospective tenants meeting income qualifications? Or no prospective tenant wanted the apartment? Does the owner have to refund the money? That appeared to be a relatively unlikely scenario. The CHA will maintain a list of potential renters and will market the apartments. However, if the apartment cannot be rented to a qualified tenant, then the money for that year would probably have to be refunded to the town.

According to Alan Lehotsky, chair of the CHA, there are still many questions regarding accessory apartments. However, the answers will not be clear until the state Department of Community and Housing Development (DCHD) develops the rules and regulations that determine eligibility for accessory apartments.

2006 The Carlisle Mosquito