Restrict CPA funding of the Concord Housing Development Corporation Junction Village project to 20 units, in line with the Town's Housing Production Plan
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The Concord Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) has applied for $250,000 of Concord Community Preservation Act funds to continue development of an affordable housing project on former state prison land in West Concord. The Junction Village project as it was initially conceived (20 units plus open space) had neighborhood support. However, on November 13, 2013, the community learned that the CHDC is now pursuing a project that would be five times as large – 90-110 rental units. This massive increase in scope:
1) does not fit within the guidelines of Concord’s Housing Production Plan
2) increases the demands on town services by nearly $500,000 per year
3) doubles the traffic on Winthrop St and (together with the Beharrell St project already under construction) increases traffic by 9% on the already congested Commonwealth Ave
4) adds an average of one child to each classroom at Thoreau or Alcott Elementary Schools, depending upon whether the students are bused.
5) overwhelms the scale of an existing neighborhood of one- and two-family houses
6) further concentrates moderately affordable housing in one of the few areas of Concord that already has it, rather than distributing it throughout the town
7) does not support “Smart Growth” development principles
8) subsidizes the development of housing for people with higher incomes than the majority of Concord residents, and
9) presents long-term risks of unit marketability, with additional potential costs to the Town.
The Junction Village project should serve the comprehensive interests of the Town, rather than CHDC’s narrower objective of maximizing affordable housing stocks. Yet the CHDC does not operate in a public process, so there is little opportunity to influence its plans, other than through funding decisions. The Community Preservation Committee should condition its Junction Village funding upon maintaining the project at its original 20-unit scope, consistent with Town documents such as the 2010 Housing Production Plan and the 2013 Analysis of Impediments to Fair Housing Choice. Otherwise, there’s the growing risk that the CPA funds could be wasted, as opposition continues to grow from neighbors, taxpayers throughout the town, drivers and pedestrians in West Concord as well as Concord Public School parents.
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