Affordable housing means different things to different people. I’m focused on the need for workforce housing. We especially need housing for the police officers, firefighters and other people who work in and near Shelburne.
I’ll continue working to:
- Stretch tax dollars further to provide more housing. Vermont is allocating roughly $40 million in government funding for housing each year. In 2007, the Vermont Housing Conservation Board calculated that the average cost of a new housing unit (usually an apartment or townhouse, not a detached home) that it subsidized cost $239,000. This is too expensive. The average condo sold in Vermont in 2007 for $218,000 without government subsidy. We can cut overhead costs by reducing the many housing agencies and funding sources involved in each project. We can reduce construction costs by developing more cost effective standard housing units.
- Improve Vermont’s permit process. I’ve helped to make some progress. Under the housing bill passed this year, a project of less than 50 units in Shelburne would not be required to obtain state permits that duplicate local planning and zoning review, if Shelburne receives a Vermont Neighborhood designation. More work is needed to consolidate existing programs and eliminate duplicative state and local review of permit applications.
Rules for local and state permits need to be clear and stringent. We need to keep Vermont’s special quality of life while making it possible for developers to build the homes that people need.
The biggest housing project facing Shelburne now involves the Shelburnewood Mobile Home Park. This project has been delayed for a long time in part because the developer is seeking new planning and zoning rules in Shelburne. I’ll continue to help the Town with any assistance needed from the State as the Selectboard and Planning Commission continue working on these rules.