Friday, January 12, 2007
Housing Authority considers steps toward Benfield housing
At its December 18 meeting the Carlisle Housing Authority discussed process and possible schedule for the proposed town-owned affordable housing on the Benfield Property.
Chair Alan Lehotsky stated, "It is unlikely that we can bring a request for additional funding for the project to the Spring Town Meeting." Supporting this assertion, Town Administrator Madonna McKenzie said, "The procurement process will be complicated because we will be building on town land — the process will be similar to building a school requiring competitive bids. You [the CHA] have to decide what you want to do, what the project could look like, what relationship you want with your 'development partner.' Then I can tell you what you need to do for a Request for Proposal (RFP)."
Elizabeth Barnet, Carlisle's Administrative Coordinator, offered to provide the CHA with a variety of models for similar projects in communities within Massachusetts to help move the process forward.
Lehotsky said, "The primary thing to move forward on would be funding for infrastructure but I know of no way to do that before the entire project is planned. As a 40B project our development partner would have to take it to the Zoning Board of Appeals [for a comprehensive permit]. We [CHA] lack the expertise to do that." The next meeting on this topic is scheduled for January 18.
Affordable housing on Greenough Land?
Planning Board member Brian Larson identified himself as liaison to the CHA and reported on work he has undertaken on an Affordable Housing Plan. Larson said that the Land Stewardship Committee thinks there may be some possibility to convert the buildings presently on the Greenough Conservation Land to affordable housing.
After a personal inspection he offered his assessment. "The house is unlikely because of its poor condition and presence of lead paint in the structure and asbestos in the basement. However, the barn has a lot of architectural interest. Clarification is needed on two issues: There may be legal restrictions on how the property was purchased since Conservation Restrictions are involved and public access to the building site would be needed. The only public access to the building site is through Billerica." Larson suggested that the CHA undertake its own assessment of the property.
© 2007 The