Affordable Housing Committee Won’t Give up on 20 Glenwood
By Tara Hughes
Oct 24. The Affordable Housing Trust Committee (AHTC) met Monday to discuss possible plans for the 20 Glenwood Ave. property but also on other smaller, affordable housing projects. See https://www.winchesternews.org/news/2023-october/oct-7-committee-votes-to-acquire-glenwood-property for background on the Glenwood property.
One of the issues voiced at the last Select Board meeting was that the AHTC’s offer included due diligence language. The language made some SB members concerned that they could end up back at square one. They could reject the $40k offer from abutters and instead accept the AHTC’s offer, but if the AHTC did not move forward after due diligence, they property would still be in limbo. During Monday evening’s meeting, the AHTC members voted to remove the due diligence language since they felt that while the risk was unknown, it was acceptable.
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Chair Marty Jones said she’d reached out to an environmental company which indicated (without seeing the property) that for a property of that age and size they would likely recommend lead and asbestos testing for around $1200. And the AHTC indicated remediation costs, if any, would likely be acceptable. In addition, any zoning risk should be limited due to the commonwealth’s 40B law on affordable housing.
The adopted language (with one abstention from member and Town Manager Beth Rudolph) to be submitted to the Select Board said, “If the AHT had been consulted on the results of the RFP, the AHT would have made it clear to the Select Board that given the price offered by the bidder, the Trust would be willing to assume ownership and develop housing at 20 Glenwood. We want to reiterate that the AHT is ready to assume ownership of 20 Glenwood for $1 and otherwise on the same timeframe and terms as outlined in the current draft of the Purchase and Sale Agreement.” AHTC member, Kris Galletta, said, “we can accomplish more good with this property than $40k.”
The AHTC also approved language advising the Select Board that the AHT is willing to take ownership of the other small scale parcels owned by the town and move forward with their development. This would allow the trust to act on the purpose for which it was created, the development of affordable housing.
The second part of their message to the Board advises it to create a more collaborative process for these parcels going forward. It states that, “The AHT believes the best way to move forward with the other town-owned properties on North Border Road and Forest Street is to convene a collaborative process where the Select Board, Town Manager, the Housing Partnership, and the Affordable Housing Trust discuss the goals, opportunities, and constraints for each property and develop a common strategy going forward.”
The complete, approved language will be sent to the Board in advance of their meeting on October 30. AHTC members Kris Galletta and Stacey Irizarry agreed to be present at the meeting and speak during public comment, since the Trust representative was not permitted to speak during the agenda item at the last meeting. They will reiterate the AHT’s willingness to take ownership of 20 Glenwood and develop affordable housing.
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