Housing Committee Minutes
May 19, 2014
Andy, Ann, Michele, Jessica, Bill Randol, Chuck Hodgkinson, David Vigneault (Dukes County Housing Authority)
NAB’S CORNER PROCESS STAFFING: The Board of Selectmen has asked Chuck Hodgkinson to oversee the establishment of Nab’s Corner infrastructure, and to assist the Committee in developing legal agreements, procedures and parameters for the selection process, based on his experience with the Middle Line Road homesite housing project.
Marina Lent, the Administrative Assistant to the Housing Committee, announced that she intends to apply for a homesite lot, and that she has put in a call to a State Ethics lawyer to ask for guidance in avoiding any conflict of interest arising from this situation. She will inform the Committee of any limitations to her work for the Committee in this regard.
FUNDING FOR LEGAL COSTS AND INFRASTRUCTURE: The Board of Selectmen would like to proceed as quickly as possible with preparations for awarding the Nab’s Corner homesite lots: Chuck asked whether funding would be available from Molly Flender Housing Trust to initiate the infrastructure work immediately. The Trust may also be asked to support some of the unforeseen legal costs associated with Nab’s Corner. The Committee noted that these activities are squarely within the purpose of the Trust, and that the Trust’s ability to deliberate and allocate available funds expeditiously means that the work can proceed rapidly. The Committee also noted that CPA funding can be requested from Town Meeting to replenish the funding put forward by the
STATUS OF PREPARATIONS: Chuck Hodgkinson is engaged in cost assessment for the curb cut, road, driveway opening cuts, wells, surveying and utilities/connectivity for the four proposed lots. He anticipates that cost estimates will be available within a few weeks.
- Surveying (Vineyard Land Surveying & Engineering): Lots have been determined and approved in a Form C Subdivision. Formal surveying and staking of the lot lines, building envelopes, well and septic locations and establishment of boundary markers and no-cut zones must be completed.
- Wells will have to be completed for each of the lots; cost estimate depends on required depth and success in finding water without multiple “dry well” attempts. Trenching water lines will be homeowner’s responsibility. Ideally, water and utility lines can be laid simultaneously in one trench within the driveway (also homeowner responsibility)—this would minimize disruption of the terrain and have a significant cost savings versus digging several trenches on each lot. The third option would be to run a new private utility line up the new road.
- Utilities/Power: 3 options: run a new line up the new road to serve the 4 Nab’s Corner lots: probably the cleanest, simplest option, but not necessarily the cheapest. It may also be possible to tap into the existing, private line—this would require an easement and creating shares in the existing utility easement with Ridge Hill Road residents currently served by that line.
- A new curb cut off South Road and a short new section of Ridge Hill Road will be built to minimize traffic running by an existing abutter to the east. The Nab’s Corner homeowners will have to either form a Road Association for their section of Ridge Hill Road, or join with existing Road Association. This remains to be clarified.
- Arrangements for Comcast service need to be sorted out in advance to ensure connectivity for the new lots.
TIMELINE FOR APPLICATION PROCESS: The Committee reviewed a rough outline prepared by Chuck Hodgkinson. Any selection process cannot begin prior to well completion, as this will determine viability of the lots. A timeline which Chuck described as “aggressive” shows a best-case scenario of completion by the end of December 2014; the selection process itself will take a bare minimum of four months from start to lottery.
CHILMARK PREFERENCE AND OTHER SELECTION/ELIGIBILITY CRITERIA: Members noted that while local preference is an accepted criterion under law, duration is possibly not allowed – they suggested that legal counsel review legal developments in case law since its last review of the Chilmark preference criteria used for Middle Line Road. The Committee stressed that it favors the strongest possible Chilmark preference.
Other requirements for applicant eligibility include mortgage pre-approval, whether a co-signer on the mortgage is acceptable, what should be the level of allowable contributions from family and friends, and many more specifications as outlined in the Chilmark Implementation Guidelines for Homesite Zoning Bylaw 6.9.
Regarding the lease cost, members felt that cost should as far as possible cover the cost of town-provided infrastructure, but that the cost of $20K (which was what was charged for MLR leases) was feasible; this will be the Committee’s recommendation to the Selectmen.
As for the timing, or a possible “phased” rollout of the application process, the Committee felt that there would be sufficient numbers of eligible applicants to enable a one-time selection process for all four lots.
The Committee felt that the model used under MLR, where the Selectmen hold the lottery, with the Dukes County Housing Authority assisting in managing the process, works very well and should be used for the Nab’s Corner homesite lots.
The Committee noted a proposed 75-year duration of the ground lease, and felt that the maximum allowable duration, of 99 years, would be preferable as this was the term for the Middle Line Road ground leases. The Committee will make this recommendation at its upcoming meeting with the Board of Selectmen on May 20th.
ACCESSORY APARTMENTS BYLAW: In other business, the Committee heard a report from Jessica Roddy on the Housing Committee presentation of its draft Accessory Apartment Bylaw to the Planning Board. The proposal was well-received, and the Planning Board has referred the matter to its Bylaw Review Subcommittee, which will next meet on June 9th at 4pm. Housing Committee members are encouraged to attend the Working Group meetings—the goal remains to bring a draft Bylaw to town voters at the Fall Special Town Meeting in October of this year.
The next meeting of the Committee will be held on Monday, June 2, 2014 at 3:30pm.