Putney housing committee approves project


PUTNEY - The Putney Affordable Housing Committee has unanimously endorsed a Windham & Windsor Housing Trust project to build 11 new affordable apartments in the village.

The committee voted 8-0 to support the project at 27 Old Depot Road.

"After hearing a presentation from the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust on a plan to purchase and renovate a building on Old Depot Road, it sounds like it's a win-win situation for Putney and for them," Affordable Housing Committee member Mike Mrowicki told the Selectboard Wednesday. "After hearing from them the committee voted unanimously to support them and to recommend to the Selectboard that we move forward with the CDBG."

The Windham & Windsor Housing wants to apply for a $300,000 Community Development Block Grant, or CDBG, to help pay for the project.

The town has to approve the application and the Affordable Housing Committee's vote helps pave the way for the town to sign on to the project.

The Selectboard members have said they support the project, but the board has not yet voted to endorse the CDBG application.

The housing trust hopes to raise about $2.1 million to purchase and renovate the 113-year-old building, a property which the Affordable Housing Committee has been considering for a number of years.

"It's been a long time coming and a lot of us have been working a long time to try to get some affordable housing project going in Putney," Mrowicki said. "Hopefully we can engender the support of the town as a whole to see that this is a good thing. We think it's a good project and we're excited to see it move forward."

Also as part of the CDBG process the town will have to hold a public hearing before applying for the funding.

The Windham & Windsor Housing Trust also has to apply for a local permit from the Planning Commission, which will require public meetings.

Affordable Housing Committee member, and Selectboard chairman, Josh Laughlin said the committee did ask the housing trust about how the new affordable apartments would affect the grand list and what the impact would be on the tax roles.

Laughlin said the housing trust would bring back more information in time for the public meeting that will most likely be held in the coming months.

"If we decide to endorse the application for the CDBG grant then we have to hold a public hearing," Laughlin said. "We talked about the need for a public hearing at some time in the next few months in order for it to be presented to the public."

Town Manager Cynthia Stoddard said she has not received many comments about the project.

Windham & Windsor Housing Trust Director of Housing Development Isaac Wagner said the project recently received a portion of its funding and the housing trust was moving ahead with the hope of starting construction next year, if the town approves the plan.

The Vermont Housing Conservation Board approved $725,000 for the housing trust for three projects it is working on. Some of that money will go toward the Putney projects

"We are very pleased by the results of the committee vote," Wagner said. "We are excited about working with the town of Putney on this project."

Howard Weiss-Tisman can be reached at hwtisman@reformer.com or at 802-254-2311, ext. 279. Follow him @HowardReformer on Twitter.


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