Putney talks affordable housing


PUTNEY >> Locals met at the Putney Fire Department for a presentation about two affordable housing projects proposed by the Windham & Winsdor Housing Trust.

Even through the "Q&A" locals could not seem to find a reason to seriously question the proposed project. Locals reiterated that it seemed like a "win-win" situation for the affordable housing need in Putney.

There are two sites proposed, as it is a bundled project. One site would be at the 5.6-acre Newman Hall lot, which is located between Depot Street and Putney Landing Road, south of Curtis' All American Barbecue. The project would include a mix of family and smaller apartments for a total of 18 apartments with a combination of townhouses and accessible flats. The site plan presented by Stevens & Associates, the project architect, showed three structures in a U-shaped arrangement around a south-facing courtyard. Newman Hall would be removed, town water and sewer are available, and the site is within walking distance of the village.

It has been proposed that access would come from Putney Landing Road, not Depot Street, and that Newman Hall would be removed. Depot Street would be used for emergency vehicles and pedestrians. Thirty-five parking spaces would be available at this site, including handicap spaces. There will be a courtyard area in the center of the three structures that house 18 apartments and each have a front and back door. There will also be a community building that holds a central heating plant with wood pellet boiler that heats the entire complex that has high thermal envelopes and air ceiling and moisture control.

The historic Noyes House on 52 Kimball Hill would be configured with four one-bedroom units in the main house, and three single-room-occupancy units in an existing wing. According to WWHT Executive Director Connie Snow, WWHT has owned the Noyes House land for about 20 years and the building is owned by Putney Cares. No drawings of the Noyes House were presented at the meeting.

"The needs assessment that Windham & Windsor Housing Trust has undertaken for both of their projects, confirm that the need is still very much here, even with the new 11 units (Laura Plantz House), the need is still very much here" said Lyssa Papazian, Chairwoman of the Putney Affordable Housing Committee.

Based on a Market Analysis by Doug Kennedy Advisors in 2016, in Putney a one bedroom cost $940, a two bedroom $1,020 and a three bedroom is $1,579 all including utilities. The proposed rent for the Putney Landing and Noyes Housing project by WWHT with heat and hot water would be $525 to $600 for a one bedroom, $650 to $710 for a two bedroom and $900 for a three bedroom.

One Putney local, Brian Morgan, voiced his opinion concerning the demographic in this area that he feels is most in need of affordable housing.

"I really hope we can find more affordable housing for young families," said Morgan. "The school population is shrinking rapidly, ACT 46 is on the horizon, which I don't think is a very good idea, but the point is we need affordable housing for young families."

Select Board Chairman and Putney Affordable Housing Committee member Josh Laughlin asked what happens if people who move in to these complexes, earn a raise above the low income rate. Snow responded that their projects are based on tax credits, and that in that case an individual would not need to leave. Laughlin also asked how this would impact taxes.

"At the end of the day once our Putney Landing site is built, it will be about $16,500, so it will be a net gain in the taxable value of property," said Peter Paggi of WWHT.

Snow added that that is an estimate and they ran that with the statewide formula that they know currently.

Maddi Shaw can be reached at 802-254-2311 ext 275


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