Studio Apartment Supportive Housing at 132 Northampton Road

Updates

Status

  • Town Council voted on July 1, 2019, to approve $500,000 in Community Preservation Act (CPA) funding for the Valley CDC Supportive Housing at 132 Northampton Road.

Contact

John Hornik

Chair, Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust 

jhornik123@gmail.com

Documents

Prepared by Valley Community Development Corporation (CDC)

Letters Prepared by Municipal Bodies

Letters Prepared by Community Members and Abutters

Presentations by Community Members at June 24th Open Meeting  of Residents at Bangs Community Center

Timeline 

Prepared by the Town Planning Department on May 2, 2019. 

Discussion of Valley CDC’s SRO Supportive Housing Project has taken place mainly at three board/committee venues—the Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Advisory Committee, Amherst Municipal Affordable Housing Trust (AMAHT), and the Community Preservation Act Committee (CPAC).  At the 2017 Annual Town Meeting the Planning Board also supported, and Town Meeting passed, a zoning change to effectively allow an affordable SRO project.

The timeline below indicates when Valley CDC’s supportive SRO project was discussed at a public meeting or hearing, and when there was local media coverage of the project.  At this time, nothing formal has been submitted to the Town for permitting.

January 2017

  • Valley CDC submits request for $51,000 in CDBG funds for site assessments and feasibility studies to help identify a site for a supportive enhance SRO development.
  • Valley CDC discusses SRO apartments with Planning Board’s Zoning Subcommittee to change Zoning Bylaw to allow the same size apartments if all units are affordable.

February 2017

  • CDBG Advisory Committee holds public hearing and votes to recommend funding for Valley CDC.

March 2017

  • Planning Board holds a public hearing to discuss zoning amendment related to same size units if all affordable.

April 2017

  • Article in Gazette describing Valley CDCs efforts to find a site for supportive SRO project.

April - May 2017

  • Planning Board presents Article 35 Report to Select Board, Town Meeting Coordinating Committee and League of Women Voters.
  • Annual Spring Town Meeting votes to approve Article 35: Zoning – Apartment Bedroom Mix (Planning Board) VOTED Yes 145, No 25 with 10 abstaining to amend the Standards and Conditions of Section 3.323, Apartments, by adding the language in bold italics, as follows: 
    • . . . No more than 50% of the total number of dwelling units shall be of any one size (i.e., # of bedrooms).  For projects in which all dwelling units provided, other than those occupied by resident manager(s), are Affordable (see Article 12, Definitions), the Permit Granting Board or Special Permit Granting Authority authorized to act under the applicable section of the Bylaw for this use may waive or modify this requirement. 
    • A management plan, as defined in terms of form and content in the Rules and Regulations adopted by the Permit Granting Board or Special Permit Granting Authority shall be included as an integral part of any application under this section.  In all districts, the Permit Granting Board or Special Permit Granting Authority shall apply the provisions of Sections 3.2040 and 3.2041 to any construction, renovation, or expansion resulting in the creation of new dwelling unit under this section.
    • Action taken 5/15/17.

November 2017

  • TOA and Valley CDC enter in a CDBG contract for site selection.  Contract ends in Sept. 2018 and is extended through Feb. 2019.

June 2018

  • CDBG Advisory Committee Public Hearing on current activities, including an update on the Valley CDC site selection process.
  • Excerpt of minutes from the hearing: Joanne Campbell, Valley CDC:  Explained that the primary purpose of the CDBG funding is for planning enhanced Single Room Occupancy (SRO) project in Amherst, with funds used for predevelopment work such as site feasibility studies, site analysis, concept plans, and work by outside consultants.  The goal is to find a site that could support 16-40 units for these small studio apartments, with some units reserved for those coming out of homelessness.  The units are for independent living, with property manager on site part-time and social service workers coming once a week or as needed.   This is a not a group home. Recent accomplishments include setting site parameters, identifying potential properties, mailing letters to 60 property owners and receiving 8 responses.  Valley is seriously considering two properties and is negotiating options for them.  Laura Baker, Valley’s Real Estate Project Manager, is working on preliminary budget for construction and operations and has been attending local homelessness systems meetings.  This project fits with Valley’s portfolio, as they own and manage 53 SRO units in Northampton with 20 set aside for those coming out of homelessness.  They work with service providers to help with case management for tenants.  These projects take time.  The next few months will be more site work, zoning and land use assessments, appraisals, environmental review and preliminary architectural drawings.  If a property is under their control, permitting and financing could take 6 months to year or two, and then more time for construction.  It will likely be 3-5 years before this project is completed and ready for tenants.  If a property is found to be feasible, Valley would also engage in a public process to let the neighbors and community know, and to have input that would help keep the project moving forward.

November 2018

  • Housing Trust Forum with Valley CDC that discussed need for small affordable units, including SRO housing.
  • Valley CDC discussed CPA proposal for project with Housing Trust.

December 2018

  • AMAHT votes to support Valley CDC’s CPA proposal.
  • Valley submits CDBG proposal for $200,000 to fund architectural fees and energy consulting for SRO project.
  • Valley submits CPA proposal for $500,000 for general costs of project.
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette Article describing Valley’s CDBG proposal.

January 2019

  • CDBG Advisory Committee recommends funding Valley CDC’s proposal.
  • Daily Hampshire Gazette article about Valley CDC’s project moving forward.
  • Valley CDC purchases property at 132 Northampton Road.
  • Location and number of units made public.

February—March 2019

  • CPA Committee discusses Valley CDC’s $500,000 CPA proposal.
  • AMAHT discussed progress and process of Valley CDC’s project.
  • Town submits CDBG application to State.

April 2019

  • Daily Hampshire Gazette Article about Valley CDC’s FY20 CPA Proposal for $500,000 for project.
  • Valley CDC holds a community meeting at the Bangs Center to hear comments from neighbors.

Projected Schedule

May-June 2019

  • Town Council to review and vote on CPA proposals.

June—July 2019

  • Valley CDC submits Project Eligibility request to Subsidizing Agency, beginning the 40B application process.

July 2019

  • The Town has a 30-day comment period in response to the Project Eligibility request.

August—September 2019

  • Assuming the Subsidizing Agency issues a Project Eligibility Letter (PEL), Valley CDC can submit its 40B Comprehensive Permit.

September 2019—January 2020

  • ZBA hears project through 40B permitting. Majority vote of the ZBA (3 of 5 members) required.

February 2020

  • Valley CDC applies to funding sources.

2021

  • Project begins construction.