Posted: 09/14/2022 01:32:26

Modified: 09/14/2022 01:31:56

A 30-unit mixed-income housing development in central Windsor took another step towards innovation by winning Selectboard approval last week for a necessary grant application.

“We are uniquely positioned in Windsor to make this happen with all of our available resources, and it’s really important that we build homes for people,” Windsor Selectboard member Christopher Goulet said at the public hearing on 8 september. .

He cited the project’s ideal downtown location, called Central & Main. “It’s going to be a bit of a change,” he said, “but I think as a community, we’re going to land in a much more accessible place, and the community is going to grow.”

The selection committee voted unanimously to support an application for a $550,000 Federal Community Development Block Grant, which would help fund the development.

The proposed project would be built on a currently vacant 1.02 acre site adjacent to the Windsor Diner. In its currently proposed form, the four-story building would feature a partial brick facade and a garage.

Non-profit housing organizations Windsor Windham Housing Trust and EverNorth are co-leading the project.

Peter Paggi, director of housing development at the trust, said 23 units will be restricted for households earning less than 60% of median income, including five targeted at people at risk of homelessness. The rest of the units could be rented by anyone earning up to 100% of the area’s median income.

The development is on track to close financing and begin construction in the spring of 2023, Paggi told Windsor Selectboard last Thursday.

The project has already received tax credits from the Vermont Housing Finance Agency that would cover more than half of the budgeted cost of $12.6 million. The tax credits will bring in just over $7 million, Evernorth head of development Matt Moore said during the public hearing last week.

Windsor previously approved $200,000 of American Rescue Plan Act money to fund the Central & Main project. Developers hope to secure additional funding from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, the US Department of Housing and Urban Development and the National Housing Trust Fund, Moore said.

Central & Main still requires approval from Windsor’s Development Review Board and Design Review Commission.

The Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire needs 10,000 new homes by 2030 to meet growing demand, according to the Keys to the Valley report, compiled by three regional planning commissions in 2021.

Currently, Windham and Windsor Housing Trust is also working on a 27-unit development in Bellows Falls and is rehabilitating several apartment buildings at Phelps Court in Windsor.

Two towns north of Hartford, Twin Pines Housing Trust recently received planning commission approval for an 18-unit development for people experiencing chronic homelessness. A low-barrier shelter proposed next door by the Upper Valley Haven was denied approval by the Hartford Zoning Board.

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