The simplest answer to the need for housing lower-income residents of Williamstown is to preserve The Spruces as a community. The major problem is the possibility of flooding from the Hoosic River and drainage from the south side of the property.
I propose an up-to-date comprehensive professional assessment of the water issues on all sides of The Spruces by a qualified outside agency. The "affordable" housing already exists. The infrastructure is already in place. The location has access to public transportation and varied services, with ample space for further development if desired. Spruces residents have chosen to live in this retirement community, in homes that are privately owned.
The homes now occupied are those that survived Tropical Storm Irene without any protective measures. The proposed demolition of these and other viable homes is an extremely wasteful and expensive process. We need an objective study of ways to mitigate potential water hazards so that owners can remain in their homes.
The town and its citizens may be served best by investigating alternatives with all parties being informed at each step.