This post sets forth the responses of the Selectboard candidates running for for the three-year seat on the topic of Affordable Housing. See this post for the responses of candidates for the two-year seat . [The five-question Questionnaire is here.]
Affordable Housing. Nearly everybody is in favor of more affordable housing in Norwich. What do you think Norwich’s local government should be doing to promote or create affordable housing in Norwich?
We need to look for creative solutions that aid long time residents to stay here and opens the door for new residents to come. Do you have a second floor in your house or a room over the garage that is not being used? Maybe it could be used for a mother in law apt, a studio apartment or share your house with someone. The additional income may be helpful to you.
Look around you at other buildings and what they could be used for.
Let’s explore other incentives. Small gatherings of homes could be developed.
Our Town Plan was rejected by the Two Rivers-Ottauquechee Regional Commission for its failure to address multi-family or affordable housing. Our access to certain state grants will continue to be restricted until a Town Plan is approved, so it is important to support our committees in their work.
The Selectboard must identify affordable housing as an important, routine agenda item. Through thoughtful research and conversations, the Selectboard can vet the best data for discussing regional housing needs and insist that these numbers be used across town committees. The Selectboard should also more purposefully define the role of experts in housing strategies, and hear stories from renters with special needs, young families relocating from urban locations, and people who are at risk of being displaced because of high taxes or financial insecurity. I believe it is important for leadership to embrace the complexity of affordable housing topics and to demonstrate to our community that all ideas can be discussed, as long as equity and inclusion are central to our thinking.
I think that Accessory Dwelling Units—also known as in-law apartments—deserve more attention in Norwich. ADUs can increase housing supply without further land development, and facilitate the efficient use of existing housing stock. ADUs can also accommodate multigenerational living and house caregivers for the population who wishes to age in place. However, like all housing solutions, ADUs have their own particular cost burdens and unique septic considerations. To aid citizens in creating ADUs, the Selectboard, in dialogue with the Planning Commission, should consider using recently allocated affordable-housing designated funds to help residents offset costs after an achievable design plan has been secured.
A candidate forum, sponsored by the Norwich Women's Club, is scheduled for Tuesday February 26 from 7-8:30 pm. The meeting has been moved to the new training room at the fire station. Per the Chief of Police: There is limited parking at the Public Safety Facility. Please try and ride with someone and please do not park on Fire House Lane or park as to obstruct Police or fire department vehicles from coming and going.