This post sets forth the responses of the Selectboard candidates running for for the two-year seat on the topic of Affordable Housing. See this post for the responses of candidates for the three-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?
If you work in Norwich, you should be able to live in Norwich if you’d like to. Housing cannot be affordable as single family homes on 2-acre spacing. Nearer to the village we should encourage denser spacing and multi-family housing with the infrastructure to support that.
First, the Town needs to be clear in its messaging regarding “affordable housing”. Most residents don’t know what “affordable housing”, how it’s calculated, or the Towns intention regarding affordable housing. Given my work experience in providing affordable housing on a national level, I’ve highlighted more about my position on this (including details on the affordability calculation) on my website: www.doug4norwichsb.com.
Secondly, the Town should donate unused land to aid in the affordable housing initiative. This land isn’t currently earning real estate tax dollars (which would otherwise count towards overall revenue). Contributing the land to an affordable housing initiative would go a long way to developing homes that are in fact “affordable”. The land should be zoned, permitted and sub-divided by the Town as needed to achieve this goal. And this will incorporate the new housing throughout the Town, much like the existing balance of homes today.
Lastly, in my meeting with TRORC, I learned that the issue with approving the Town Plan appeared to be the lack of a “multi-family” zoned area—NOT a lack of affordable housing. This does not necessarily mean that “multi-family” (e.g. apartments or condos) could not be considered “affordable.” Therefore, multi-family housing that is also affordable would satisfy the TRORC’s requirement that Norwich address in its Town Plan.
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.