WILLIAMSTOWN -- The Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee’s second community listening session, addressing the former Photech Mill site at 330 Cole Ave., will be Thursday, Oct. 10. The session will be held at the Williamstown Elementary School auditorium, 115 Church St., at 7 p.m., and last approximately two hours.
This is the second of two meetings. The first focused on the former town garage site at 59 Water St., Monday, Sept. 30.
The purpose of the meetings is to gather input to use in seeking proposals from developers to build affordable housing on either or both properties.
"While it will be the chosen developer’s responsibility to create site plans, arrange financing and obtain necessary permits, community input is vitally important and will inform the way we structure the Requests for Proposals for the two sites," said AHC Chairwoman Catherine Yamamoto. "The RFPs will reflect to the extent possible the preferences of our community and the successful respondent will incorporate those preferences in their proposal."
The committee hopes to hear from as many people as possible and has structured the session as an interactive community workshop, which will be facilitated by the Committee’s consultants, Connie Kruger and Jennifer Goldson.
Kruger and Goldson will lead exercises that include digital group polling and small-group discussions. The session will also include a short presentation about Williamstown’s housing needs as well as site information.
The Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee was formed to carry out the housing recommendations of the town’s 2002 Master Plan. The six-member committee is appointed by the Board of Selectmen. Currently serving are Bilal Ansari, Charles Bonenti, Van Ellet, Cheryl Shanks, Leigh Short and Catherine Yamamoto.
The town’s 2002 Master Plan called for an additional 100 to 150 rental or owner-occupied units of housing affordable for those earning less than the area median income. The area median income (across all household sizes) for Williamstown, as set by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development in 2012, is $72,400. Housing is deemed affordable when no more than 35 percent of household income is spent on housing costs.
Williamstown’s need for affordable housing rose dramatically following the loss of 155 rent-controlled homes in The Spruces Mobile Home Park due to flooding caused by Tropical Storm Irene two years ago. The 66 homes remaining in the park will be lost at the park’s projected closing date of late 2015.
"The AHC hopes to complete work on the Requests for Proposals by the end of the year," Yamamoto said. Allowing time for developers to respond, she said a decision could be made in January.
Those unable to attend the information-gathering sessions may submit questions about either site to the committee at email@example.com. More information about the two sites is available at the AHC’s page on the town’s website, williamstown.ws.
For more information, contact Catherine Yamamoto at firstname.lastname@example.org or 413-441-4658.