TOWN OF MARION
AFFORDABLE HOUSING TRUST
August 11, 2008
MEMBERS PRESENT: Reg Foster, Chairman
Ora Mae Torres
MEMBERS ABSENT: Jon Henry
ALSO PRESENT: Paul Dawson
Julia Deane Crowley
Commencement – Mr. Foster called the meeting to order at 7:10 p.m.
Approval of Minutes
Moved by Mr. Blanchette and seconded by Rev. MacFarlane to approve the minutes of June 30, 2008. VOTE: 6-0-0
Presentation of Little Neck Village Expansion – EA Fish
Prior to the presentation Mr. Foster described the background of the proposed expansion.
The following members of the development team were present:
Edward A. Fish, Chairman/Founder
Dana Angelo, Project Manager
Jake Upton, Managing Director, EA Fish
Karen Fish-Wills, Vice-President of Marketing, Peabody Properties
Melissa Fish-Crane, Vice-President of Operations, Peabody Properties
Doreen Bushashia, Resident Services, Peabody Properties
Attorney Richard Schaefer
Michael Fish, Vice-President, Dellbrook Construction
Chris Raber, Brown-Lindquist, Fenuccio & Raber Architects
Joe Longo, Horsley-Witten Group
Ed Connolly, New Ecology
Mr. E. Fish said his team is very excited about the project, looks forward to working with the Trust, and plans to work very closely with the current residents of Little Neck Village to make sure that their new home is much better than they ever anticipated.
The following elements were addressed in the presentation:
· Building Design – Mr. Raber described the proposed structures (a two story, 30 unit structure, three one story, six unit structures, and a community building.) The two story building will have an entrance, internal corridor, central laundry facilities, and central mechanical systems. Each cottage style building will also have a central space dedicated for laundry facilities and mechanical systems. The community building will have a large living room that will use approximately half of the building, covered walkway, kitchen area, lavatories, utility room, and a covered seating area on the stone terrace area. The management office
will be located in the lobby of the larger building. The units will be approximately 600 square feet and are proposed to have one bedroom.
· Engineering Design – Mr. Longo said the new driveway is proposed to be approximately 200’ further away from the high point on Route 6; this will provide better sight distance. The Conservation Commission requires a 30’ buffer between wetlands and construction and a 15’ no activity area from wetlands. All of the proposed construction will be outside the 30’ buffer. The buildings are proposed to be elevated above the flood zone and will be outside the velocity zone. Stormwater will be treated prior to discharge into groundwater or surface water. The development will be served by municipal water and
sewer. The Fire Chief would like to see a gravel path, planted with grass, traversing the entire site around the back side of the buildings to provide emergency access. The existing curb cut for the caretaker’s cottage might be left open with a gate to provide a second access in the event of an emergency. The Fire Chief also requested a wider path in the parking area to allow ladder truck access. A Notice of Intent will be filed with the Conservation Commission on August 15, with a public hearing September 3.
· Green Design – Mr. Connolly said his role on the team is to keep the project as green as possible. New Ecology is a non-profit corporation that works with developers and specializes in affordable housing. His company will be looking at energy efficiency, reducing water use, making buildings more durable and making them healthier. The southern orientation of the proposed buildings will allow the developer to explore solar energy.
· Construction Phasing – Mr. M. Fish described the initial construction phasing plan; he explained that this is the only plan devised without the input of the residents and offered to keep an open dialogue with residents and Town officials.
The first process of construction will include setting up a temporary parking area, cutting _________ utilities, doing site work, and coordination during the first couple of weeks of construction.
Phase I, which is the construction of the two story, 30 unit building, is anticipated to be complete within five to six months after the beginning of construction. A two to three week relocation period is expected and then the existing buildings will be demolished.
Phase II construction will include site grading, construction of the three one story, six unit buildings, and community building. After Phase II is complete the landscaping and paving will be completed.
Mr. Fish described a similar project, Asher’s Path in Mashpee, which was constructed by his company.
· Peabody Properties - Mrs. Fish-Crane said the team wants the transition to be as smooth as possible for all of the residents. She has met with one resident tonight and will be meeting with the remaining residents on Wednesday to discuss income qualifications. Ms. Bushashia explained what was provided by Resident Services (home care workers, meal and wellness programs, and social activities.) Peabody Properties has Resident Services coordinators that are Social Services staff; they work
with the property managers and maintenance facility managers to develop programs with input from the residents.
Questions and Comments – MAHT
Mr. Foster distributed copies of a draft master list of questions and clarifications.
Mrs. Torres said she had met with Mr. Angelo and discussed a list of questions some members of the Trust had; she noted that the draft incorporates all of the discussed issues and more.
Mr. Cushing commented that he was impressed with the speed at which things were progressing and the amount of information that has been supplied so far.
Mr. Blanchette asked what is proposed for the caretaker’s cottage. Mr. Foster said the cottage was not incorporated in the proposal, so the Trust will need to try to find it a new location. Mr. Angelo said there might be a need during the initial construction phase to use the cottage for office space.
Mr. Grady said he had prepared a list of comments; some of the comments have been addressed and others appear to be premature. Design of the lobby was briefly discussed. Mr. Grady said the public should understand that the applicant needs to appear before various Boards and Commissions for permitting of the project. He asked how the project will be funded aside from the funds already appropriated through the Town. Mr. Angelo said EA Fish has been very successful working with government agencies and generating funds for affordable housing units. The developer has already met with DHCD and discussed the project relative to programs and has received some positive feedback. An application for funds is due to DHCD by October 30.
Mr. Foster said the overall project is budgeted to cost approximately $7.5 million for 48 affordable housing units (36 more than what currently exists). The Affordable Housing Trust will be contributing approximately $400,000; these funds have been appropriated from the CPC over the past two years. The $400,000 will allow the $7.5 million to come from outside funding sources; $1 of local funds will bring approximately $19 of outside funds.
Mr. Grady said the Trust will be negotiating a long term (99 year) lease with Peabody Properties, who will be the landlord. The purpose of the lease will be to protect the town of Marion and will include periodic meetings where tenant concerns will be addressed directly at the highest level. Mrs. Fish-Crane said Peabody Properties has been in business for 34 years and they pride themselves on the service they provide to residents.
Rev. MacFarlane said he and his colleagues find the project a very exciting possibility, particularly the services offered by Ms. Bushashia and her staff. He also voiced appreciation to the Chief of Police, Fire Chief, and EMS for their advice and input. One suggestion that was made at the residents’ meeting was a field trip to Asher’s Path in Mashpee, which Rev. MacFarlane thinks is a great idea. Mrs. Fish-Crane and Ms. Bushashia discussed different sites that could be visited. Rev. MacFarlane said another recommendation of residents was to have at least a few two bedroom units and asked if that request had been
considered. Mr. Angelo said the development team examined the impact of adding two bedroom units to the 30 unit building; to add four two-bedroom units would require an additional 1560 square feet. This is a cost (approximately $300,000) that has not been considered in the budget. The developer would work with the Trust to figure out a way to make it happen but at this time it would not work in the budget. Mr. Foster asked if it would be possible to construct two two-bedroom units and was told it could be looked into.
Questions and Comments – Members of the public
Suzanne Peterson asked if residents could suggest an alternative type of heat or would a standard type be installed. She was told the heat will probably be gas fired forced hot water baseboard.
Helen Westergard said forced hot water would preclude central air conditioning; she was told sleeves for individual air conditioners will be provided but central air is not proposed.
Norman Hills asked if copies of the master list of questions and clarifications would be made available. Mr. Foster said they would be made available when they are finalized.
Dot Burrill said it would be a good idea to check the waiting list and make sure that the people needing two bedroom units are actually still on the list. She praised the design of the plan and said it’s been a pleasure meeting with the EA Fish team.
The addition of two bedroom units in the large building was discussed. Mr. Angelo said the additional units could result in not being able to accommodate the Fire Chief’s request for an 18’ wide path for the ladder truck. Mr. Blanchette asked if one of the smaller buildings could be reconfigured to have six two-bedroom units. Mr. Angelo said it could be looked at. Mr. Upton said the applicant is responsible for making sure the project is feasible and making sure it’s the best project it can be. It was agreed that the developer will be asked to examine the possibility of some two bedroom units with the understanding that the Trust might need to help with some of the cost.
Mr. E. Fish stated that his first priority is the existing residents and he has made a commitment that they be able to remain in the rent parameters that they are paying right now. In the event that the income of the of the residents causes the rent pursuant to the guidelines to be higher EA Fish will pay the difference.
Eunice Manduca asked what justified two bedroom units. She asked if the developers have included two bedroom units in their other projects and why. Mrs. Torres said two bedroom units would allow the Trust to continue serving more of the community. Possible scenarios would include health issues making it impossible for a married couple to continue to share a bedroom, siblings sharing a unit, or a retired parent and a retired child sharing a unit. Ms. Bushashia said Peabody Properties does have developments with two bedroom units for seniors and they usually are requested by married couples with medical or disability issues. Mr. Dawson said in the time he assisted the Trust helping place and recertify tenants that issue came up on a couple of different occasions. He asked if the
developers have met with or plan to meet with representatives from EMS to discuss the design of the bedrooms, corridors, and elevators to make sure that they can accommodate stretchers. Mr. Angelo said that issue came up today during the meeting with the Chief of Police and a meeting with EMS will be held.
Move by Mr. Foster and seconded by Mrs. Torres to ask EA Fish to use reasonable diligent efforts to add two to four two-bedroom units to the design, recognizing that it may not be possible with the constraints that we have or public safety and recognizing also as the Housing Trust that this may cause a problem for the budget and the developer will certainly have the opportunity to come back and ask the Trust for assistance solving the problem. Voting for this motion should not be construed as a commitment to vote for additional funds to come out of the taxpayer. VOTE: 6-0-0
Mr. Foster recommended that a subcommittee be formed to provide to the developer feedback relative to project design.
Moved by Mr. Blanchette and seconded by Mr. Grady to appoint Rev. MacFarlane, Mr. Foster, and Mrs. Torres to communicate with EA Fish to work on the list of questions and clarifications. The subcommittee will be empowered to resolve small details, make final decisions, and get the list finalized. VOTE: 6-0-0
Mr. Foster stated that a copy of the list would be made available to the public when it’s in a more finalized format.
Overview of schedule between now and October submission to DHCD
Mr. Angelo said the team will be working with the other Town Boards and Commissions over the next 60 days. A Notice of Intent will be filed with the Conservation Commission on August 15 and will be appearing before the Commission on September 3. The team will also be filing an application with the Zoning Board of Appeals for a Comprehensive Permit and will be working with the Planning Board and other Town agencies to continue to get their input on the final plan. The team plans to apply for a Site Eligibility letter from DHCD on August 20 with a goal to appear before the ZBA in mid-September.
Mr. Foster said the Trust needs to go before a Special Town Meeting on September 22 to obtain authorization to transfer control of the land to the Trust. The application for funding is due on October 30; if that deadline is missed the funds cannot be applied for until the next round of funding six months later. If funding approval is granted in the first round construction is planned to commence in spring, 2009 with the first 30 units available in fall, 2009.
Approval of letter of support for the One Stop Application
Trust members reviewed a letter that has been approved by Attorney Witten, EA Fish, and Dick Heaton. The letter is in the form of a motion that needs to be approved by the Trust. Mr. Foster read the letter into the record. Mr. Grady voiced concern that there was no time limit on the grant of site control and asked what would happen if the project did not go through. He suggested language stating, “grant of site control conditioned pursuant to a regular schedule of construction” or “in the event that for any reason construction is prevented or prohibited then site control shall be terminated”. After discussion it was agreed to approve the amended motion subject to the final ruling of Town Counsel.
Moved by Mr. Foster and seconded by Rev. MacFarlane to approve the amended motion subject to the final ruling of Town Counsel and counsel for EA Fish. VOTE: 6-0-0
Lease Review/Negotiation Subcommittee
It was agreed that Mr. Grady and Mrs. Torres will work together reviewing and negotiating the lease.
Plaque for Drew Jeffrey
A plaque was presented from the Trust thanking Mr. Jeffrey for his contributions to the Trust.
Mrs. Torres suggested a review of the current waiting list prior to turning the list over to Peabody Properties. It was agreed to discuss this at a future meeting.
Moved by Mr. Grady and seconded by Mr. Cushing at 8:55 p.m. to go into Executive Session to discuss confidential matters regarding the transfer of land to the Affordable Housing Trust. The Trust will not be emerging to a public session but rather to an adjournment. VOTE: A roll call vote was taken with Mr. Foster, Mr. Grady, Mr. Cushing, Mr. Blanchette, Rev. MacFarlane, Mrs. Torres all voting yes.
Reg Foster, Chairman