TOWN OF MARION
AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST
May 12, 2008
MEMBERS PRESENT: Reg Foster, Chairman
Ora Mae Torres
MEMBERS ABSENT: Roger Blanchette
ALSO PRESENT: Debra Paiva
Julia Deane Crowley
Commencement – Mr. Foster called the meeting to order at 7:03 p.m.
Approval of Minutes
Moved by Mr. Grady and seconded by Mr. Henry to approve the minutes of April 14, 2008 as submitted. VOTE: 5-0-1 (Mr. Jeffrey abstained)
The Trust entered into executive session at 7:20 p.m. in order to discuss a negotiated land matter after a unanimous roll call vote.
Little Neck Village Expansion Project
Report on meeting with potential bidders
Mr. Foster and Mrs. Torres described the May 3 optional onsite visit, which was attended by numerous developers. Some of the developers commented that the caretaker’s cottage could be rehabbed.
Discussion of questions received to date
The deadline for written questions was Friday, May 9; the questions were reviewed and methods of answering them were discussed. An optional bidders’ conference is scheduled May 21 for developers to hear oral responses to the questions and the deadline for written responses is May 30.
Activities through bid opening day (June 12, 2008)
Town Meeting June 19, optional bidders’ conference on May 21, written responses due on May 31, sealed packages containing bids to be opened on June 12.
Update on RFP for additional consulting assistance
An email received today from Mr. Dawson explaining the procurement law was distributed and briefly discussed. The RFP for consulting services, due May 30, will be reviewed by a subcommittee consisting of Mr. Foster, Mrs. Torres, and Mr. Grady.
Renewal policy for LNV leases for July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2009
The lease renewals have been sent to the residents.
Special counsel assistance
The hiring of special counsel assistance during the RFP process was discussed. It was agreed that Mr. Foster and Mr. Grady will explore possible candidates to act as Special Counsel.
Updating LNV forms and resident files
Current application forms were briefly discussed.
Zoning of Little Neck Village site
Mr. Foster told the Trust that Mr. Dawson and Attorney Witten recommend the following permitting process:
Prepare a 40B LIP application to be signed by the Trust, approved by the Board of Selectmen, and then forwarded to DHCD. After the DHCD has approved the application it will be submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals as a Comprehensive Permit.
Neighborhood Overlay District
The proposed Neighborhood Overlay District that will be voted on at the upcoming Town Meeting was discussed.
The presentation of articles (request for CPC funds, transfer of land to the Trust) at Town Meeting was discussed.
Little Neck Village resident Helen Westergard was present to voice concerns she has for the proposed expansion. During the conversation the following issues were addressed:
· Differences between the draft RFP and the final RFP (mix of senior and family housing)
· The number of units (42-60) and the ability of the site to accommodate the units
· General Law Chapter 40, Section 15A (allows the Selectmen to transfer the land if they determine that the land is no longer needed for such purpose, which currently is senior housing)
· The November 8, 1976 Town Meeting vote and Chapter 41 of Act of 1977 that allowed the town to provide housing for seniors of low income
· The transfer of the land to the Trust would allow them to do sell the land, lease the land, or give it away without further approval at Town Meeting
Mr. Foster explained that in order to receive public funds the project has to be a mix of senior and family units.
Mr. Jeffrey explained that the exact number of units cannot be determined at this time. He described the RFP process and why the number of units was left open at this phase of the process.
Mrs. Torres said the Trust is trying to take care of the large number of people on the waiting list for housing.
Mr. Foster said the Trust will sell or lease the land but will not give it away.
Mr. Grady said the statutory references Mrs. Westergard is referencing will be satisfied.
Mr. Foster said the only way the project can be designated senior only is if no outside funding is used and the Town cannot afford to construct it without outside funding.
Audience member Robert Mangham asked why the project has to be constructed at the existing site. Mr. Foster said he does not believe there is any other Town-owned land available; additionally, this has been worked on for a number of years by the Trust and the Housing Committee and is included in the Affordable Housing Plan as a top priority.
Audience member Suzanne Peterson said some of the residents have concern with Section 8 requirements impacting how their rent will be determined. Mr. Foster told her that those questions will be answered when the bids are received. Mrs. Torres explained that having some Section 8 units is a possibility in keeping the project affordable.
Mrs. Westergard said 42 units would allow a developer 5 units that he could charge 80% of market rent for and 60 units would allow a developer 12 units he could charge 80% of market rent for. Mr. Foster said the developers will each work to create a very comprehensive proposal and they will be discussed at weekly meetings from June through September.
Audience member Shirley Cowell voiced concern that the Town might lose rights if the land is turned over to a developer. Mr. Foster said there will be a 50-100 page document spelling out what the developer can and cannot do during the entire lifetime of the project.
Mrs. Peterson asked if the strip of land along Hermitage Road was necessary for the project and was told it would make the project easier to do.
Mr. Mangham asked if the land will become taxable if transferred to a private corporation and was told no as it will be used for affordable housing. Mr. Grady explained Low Income Housing Tax Credits to the audience.
Moved by Mr. Jeffrey and seconded by Mr. Grady at 9:00 p.m. to adjourn.
Reg Foster, Chairman