Vol. III No. 13 7/1/2022
Housing Production Plan — what is it?
by Patrick White
At the June 23rd meeting, the Stockbridge Select Board voted to move forward with a Housing Production Plan. I'd like to take a moment to explain what it is, and why we need one.
In Stockbridge, we have some challenges surrounding housing. With over a thousand full-time residents in their 60s and older, is it important to the community that we give the 10-12% who, according to studies, will need to downsize options to do so in their hometown? If so, should this housing be limited to those who qualify for affordable (subsidized) or should they be available to everyone via a market rate option? If the people of Stockbridge determine this goal is important, how do we do it?
Similarly, is it important to us that we maintain the centuries-old tradition of a town where at least some of its residents can afford to live here as they work in the area and raise their families? If the people of Stockbridge determine this goal is important, how do we do it?
Finally, is it important to us that we encourage diversity in its many forms: diversity in terms of level of wealth, race and ethnicity, age, perspective, lifestyle? If the people of Stockbridge determine this goal is important, how do we do it?
The "how" is often the sticking point. How do we pay for it, with whom should we partner, do our bylaws support it? How do implement change while avoiding unintended and potentially damaging consequences?
These are the sorts of tough questions a Housing Production Plan can answer.
The plan will provide us with a snapshot of where we are, coupled with a process that is heavily weighted toward community involvement and input to determine where we want to be and the steps we need to take to get there.
I am looking forward to working with the Select Board, the Planning Board, and the people of Stockbridge to help manage an open, transparent process that in the end can serve as a consensus blueprint for how we manage and prioritize the housing challenges we face.
These are hard questions but I have every confidence in the ability of this community to work together to ask them without fear, discuss and debate them without rancor and answer them in the spirit of what is best for the future of our town.
Patrick White is Chairman of the Board of Selectmen
Photo: Patrick White