The Town Council will convene a special “Open Meeting of the Residents” Monday, June 24, to consider 28 single-room occupancy units along Route 9.
The nonprofit Valley Community Development Corporation of Northampton is requesting $500,000 of the municipality’s Community Preservation Act funds that, if approved, would go towards constructing the units at 132 Northampton Road.
The meeting will be held at Bangs Community Center, located at 70 Boltwood Walk, located off of Main and North Pleasant streets in downtown Amherst, beginning at 6:30 p.m.
Valley Community Development Corporation will make a presentation that night, as will Amherst Community Preservation Act Committee, and the Amherst Affordable Housing Trust.
Abutters to the proposed project and residents have also been invited to make presentations to the Town Council.
“There will be ample time for residents and others to comment. Comments will be limited to 3 minutes. If questions arise that are able to be answered during the meeting, the Town Council President will recognize the person(s) who will respond. All questions will be recorded and, to the extent possible, answers will be provided on the Town’s website within a week,” a meeting notice for the public forum says.
The $500,000 Community Preservation Act fund request by Valley is contingent on Town Council approval.
The Council’s Finance Committee is expected make a recommendation on the CPA funding request the next day, during a June 25 meeting scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. The full Council is slated to decide whether to approve it on July 1, according to the town’s website.
Valley Community Development Corporation purchased the Northampton Road property in January for $407,500, having secured a mortgage in that amount from Community Economic Development Assistance Corporation.
The CEDAC is a quasi-state agency that describe themselves as “a public-private community development finance institution that provides financial resources and technical expertise for community-based and other non-profit organizations engaged in effective community development in Massachusetts.”
The lending agency’s board chairwoman is Janelle Chan, Undersecretary for Housing and Community Development in the state’s Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development.
CEDAC’s 10-person governing board also includes Beth Rubenstein, Deputy Commissioner, Office of Real Estate, at the state’s Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance.
According to a document prepared by Valley Community Development Corporation on the town’s website, the organization aims to: “Renovate the existing vacant single family house on the site plus construct an addition to accommodate 28 small studio units (approximately 240 sf each) plus common areas and provider office.”
The Valley document states: “The Town of Amherst has conducted extensive community process regarding the issue of homelessness. A Forum on Homelessness (July 2016) attracted several hundred residents. One of the primary strategies identified to address homelessness was the creation of subsidized, small studio apartments with supportive services for low income single adults. There are currently no units of this type in Town.”
An additional “$200,000 to fund architectural fees and energy consulting for SRO project” has been requested via Amherst’s Community Development Block Grant program, the town’s website says.