Hinesburg Affordable Housing Committee
February 7, 2008
Committee Members Present: Rocky Martin, Alan Norris, Donna Constantineau, Carl Bohlen, Julie Pierson, Dale Wernhoff.
Also Present: Mike Wisniewski
The meeting came to order at approximately 7:05 PM.
Presentation by Mike Wisniewski: Mike Wisniewski is a partner in Duncan Wisniewski Architecture ( http://www.duncanwisniewski.com/ ) in Burlington, VT. They formed in 1985 and currently are a five person office. They have done several affordable housing projects over the years and Mike is here to discuss some of them and their role in a project.
To do an affordable housing project these days you need both a partner (Vermont Housing Finance Agency (VHFA - http://www.vhfa.org/ ), etc) and to bring in density. You need 30 rental units to deal with the overhead on a typical project. But increased density brings in opposition from the neighbors to a project in the form of NIMBY – not in my back yard. People support affordable housing but don’t want increased density.
On a typical project Housing Vermont ( http://www.hvt.org/ ) gets a planning grant from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board ( http://www.vhcb.org/index.htm ) to draw up the plans, which is where Mike comes in. If the project does not go forward (like Putney village - http://www.duncanwisniewski.com/putney-village/) then he still gets paid for the drawings. If the project does go forward then Housing Vermont and the local partner form a corporation which becomes the owner. There are tax credits available when this arrangement is used.
A couple of examples of projects he has done are Ockert Lane ( http://www.duncanwisniewski.com/ockert-lane/) and Noonan House ( http://www.duncanwisniewski.com/noonan-house/), both in Shelburne and developed together. They are all rental units, 18 at Ockert Lane and two at Noonan House. See the links for more info.
Carl asked Mike if he was aware of any sites in Hinesburg for a project. Mike thought four to six more units could go on the Bissonette lot shown to us by Andrea Morgante at our 12/6/07 meeting. Rocky thought another possibility was the houses that NRG wants to build and thought it might be a good idea to contact them about this. Carl then asked Mike if he had any suggestions or recommendations for us. Mike said budgets are always so tight that it would be nice to figure out a way to make the money flow easier. Mike was asked about small starter homes and if 1100 SF was a good size. Mike thought that was a little tight and there may be no interest. Mike is working on a plan with two full baths that he feels is comfy and is 1400 to 1500 SF. Mike is also looking into using concrete panels for the wall system but isn’t sure if people want to live in a concrete house.
The meeting was adjourned at approximately 9:00 PM.
Next Meeting –
March 4th – Possible topics: have Alex Weinhagen, Hinesburg’s Director of Planning and Zoning, attend to explain how inclusionary zoning works; check/practice on Bruce Wheeler’s affordable housing blog; and/or work on a monthly article for the Hinesburg Record.