Public comment sought on Amherst affordable housing project 

  • Amherst Town Hall

Staff Writer
Saturday, February 08, 2020

AMHERST — A 30-day period for the public to provide feedback on plans to convert a property at 132 Northampton Road into affordable housing is underway.

Last Friday, the state Department of Housing and Community Development notified the town of Amherst, in a letter sent to Town Clerk Shavena Martin by Catherine Racer, associated director for the division of Housing Development, that the application from Valley Community Development has been received for the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.

That letter, from Valley CDC Executive Director Joanne Campbell, states, “this development responds to a repeatedly articulated need for permanent, supportive housing for homeless individuals.”

The submission is a key step in moving forward with the $5 million project that will create a supportive studio apartment housing project featuring 28 apartments for low- and extremely low-income people. Various services will be provided to residents on site through a provider’s office.

The project, which will include apartments about 240 square feet in size with a kitchenette and bathroom, is already being supported by $200,000 from a Community Development Block Grant Amherst will receive, $500,000 the Town Council agreed to borrow from the Community Preservation Act account and $50,000 from the Charlesbank Foundation.

All comments made over the next month will be considered by the state agency before its issuance of a project eligibility determination. Once that happens, Valley CDC is expected to submit an application under the state’s chapter 40B comprehensive zoning law so the Zoning Board of Appeals can begin reviewing the project.

Brianna Sunryd, Amherst’s communications manager, said Amherst has put together a project page on the Amherst website at amherstma.gov/3520 for people to track the project.

Comments can be sent through the webpage under the “project eligibility” section. Comments can also be made in writing to planning@amherstma.gov or by mail to Planning Director Christine Brestrup, Town of Amherst, 4 Boltwood Ave., Amherst, 01002.