Vol. IV No. 16 8/15/2023
Key Notes from the Planning Board, August 1, Hybrid
Brian Koczela, Berkshire Associates, presented a Form A. Land immediately behind the "Van Olds" (?) property is for sale. There is no frontage and therefore not buildable. Endorsed by the PB — no approval necessary since not buildable.
Chair Kate Fletcher asked Lis Wheeler to give a report on the Affordable Housing Trust (AHT) public meeting. Wheeler, member of both PB and AHT, reported data collected by the AHT:
Stockbridge has met the state requirement for affordable housing.
Stockbridge has 1638 houses — 811 owned by full-time residents and 827 owned by parttime residents.
Since 201, the median age in Stockbridge rose from 40 years to 60 years.
Income disparity increased.
Residents with income $100,000 and above rose from 128 to 223.
Residents with incomes $35,000 and below rose from 219 to 371.
77% of primary residents could not purchase the house they now live in at today's prices.
Many primary residents pay 30% - 50% of their total income for housing.
Housing, for rent or purchase, is scarce in Stockbridge.
Those who qualify for affordable housing earn 80% of median income or less, that is, approximately $73,000 annually per family and $40,000 annually per individual.
Taking the stats together, it was suggested the need may not be for affordable housing but for what is sometimes called work-force housing, that is, housing for "the missing middle". In the "missing middle" are the folks who do not qualify for affordable housing but cannot afford housing in the current market.
Wheeler reported that currently there was $225,000 in the AHT account. $250,000 was awarded by the Community Preservation Committee, of which $25,000 spent at Pine Woods.
Patrick White (SB member and AHT member) added that given passage at Town Meeting (2023) of his initiative, the Residential Inclusionary Bylaw, development at Elm Court could yield an additional $2million in the AHT account.
Marie Raftery asked Wheeler, "Who administers the funds in AHT?" Wheeler deferred to Patrick White who answered that AHT decisions require a super-majority (5 of the seven-member AHT Board) and the Town administers the funds.
Editor's note: [Mass law] "allows municipalities to collect funds for affordable housing, segregate them out of the general municipal budget into a trust fund, and use the funds for local initiatives to create and preserve affordable housing. Examples of what a local affordable housing trust can do include:
- Provide financial support for the construction of affordable homes by private developers (non-profit or for-profit);
- Rehabilitate existing homes to convert to affordable housing;
- Increase affordability in new housing development projects;
- Develop surplus municipal land or buildings;
- Preserve properties faced with expiring affordability restrictions;
- Support rent assistance for low- and moderate-income households."
If "administer" meant who controls how the money in the AHT account is spent, then the answer is: the AHT account is "segregated out of the general municipal budget" and how it is spent is decided by at least 5 of the 7 members appointed to the AHT Board. If administer meant who does the mundane tasks of account management, then the answer is Town employees.
Photo: Lionel Delevingne