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HomeMy Public PortalAboutRockport Affordable Housing Trust Fund Meeting Minutes 10-11-2023Rockport Affordable Housing Trust Fund Approved Meeting Minutes 10/11/2023 1.The meeting was called to order at 6:34pm.All 5 members were present. 2.We reviewed the meeting minutes from 9/13/2023.Denise made a motion to approve as amended,Amy seconded the motion.All members approved the minutes. 3.Denise confirmed that we will have a note taker at our next meeting. When we move to ZOOM meetings,the agenda will need to be submitted to the Town administrator ’s office by the Thursday before.The TA will get a host for the ZOOM meetings. Denise gave an update on the short-term rentals in town.The state (Department of Revenue-DOR)is who collects the community impact fee on short term rentals which is 5.7%tax the DOR allocates 3%to Rockport.Rockport SB allocated 35%of the 3%to the Rockport Affordable Housing Trust Fund.Individual property owners have to register with the state when they do short term rentals,so this is based on an honor system.Currently,approximately 100 to 150 are registered.It is an automatic tax with short term rental with VRBO and Airbnb. Denise confirmed that Milbrook Park land is owned by the Rockport Housing Authority which is governed by EOHLC (formerly DHCD). 4.Peter has posted the meeting minutes to the RAHTF page of the town website.He will post the new member position,which he will take from the Volunteer page. 5.Planning board updates-Bob (see attached ) Rockport ’s current zoning for multi-family,which is 3 or more units,is allowed in the downtown district,but all other districts require a special permit.The current zoning states that development of 6 or more units does require 10%of those units to be Affordable. The planning board is working on creating the zoning for the Transit-Oriented Village Districts (TOV).They are focusing on areas that are within a 10 minutes walk/1/2 mile radius of the train, areas which already have Multi-family zoning,areas with ease for development (shape and topography),infrastructure rich areas to reduce development costs,redevelopment needy areas, and areas with larger parcels that are ready for redevelopment/modernization. As of now,the state TOV law does not require Affordable Housing,but some on the planning board do support requiring more than the 10%minimum to be required for Affordable Housing. Bob suggested that we as members of RAHTF go to Planning Board meetings to advocate for more Affordable housing. We discussed some of the barriers to development,specifically the state of the water and sewer systems,zoning by special permit and density.Denise confirmed that the town has slotted $940 thousand to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant. 6.We went through the Rockport AH organizations chart and made some changes for the various groups.Peter and Diane will work on completing this so that we can vote to accept it at our next meeting. 7.Denise is meeting with Mitch and the company doing the HPP on Thursday October 12,2023. She will give us an updated time-line at our next meeting. 8.Update on Rockport Housing Authority-Peter Newburyport will take over the administrative management of Rockport Housing Authority Section 8 Vouchers for 2 years.The federal funds provided for the administration of the vouchers will shift to Newburyport.This agreement will be reviewed annually.It is unclear if the tenants will have to travel to Newburyport for any reason including annual re-examinations.This change shouldn’t affect SHI since SHI is based on a unit,not a voucher.The vouchers are oftentimes used outside of Rockport. 9.Report on MHP Affordable Housing Trust training-Amy and Peter Training included setting up a Trust fund,the basics of getting started including creating a mission statement,goals and strategies,and then supporting Affordable Housing Development. Some of the takeaways were *Clarifying roles of the different town boards and organizations that are working on Affordable Housing (i.e.Housing Authority,Trust Fund,Community Preservation),how will these boards work together,identify areas of collaboration,who funds what. *Each Trust has to determine their approach-are you a Funder or initiator.Trusts can help get town land,they can help fund Affordable Housing Development,do advocacy work,or education.Decide early on what the goals of your Trust are. *Creating a mission statement,goals and strategies should be a first step. The 3 keys are :What you do,How you do it,and Who are you doing it for.Create 3 well defined goals,the strategies you’ll use to support those goals,and the tasks/actions used to achieve the goals. *Trust funds will need to report to the CPC annually about the funds received. *A developer of Affordable Housing spoke about how local Trust funds can help these developers.AHT’s can help create motivation on the local level about development for Affordable Housing,provide funds for acquisition of property to be developed,and provide political support.Getting initial support and funding helps the developers to get more funding when they apply,and the state expects that a municipality has made funds available when they are applying for state funding. *The slides from this training are available on the MHP website in the Toolbox. *Datatown is available on MHP.net Center for Housing Data website,instrumental in collecting data on housing in Rockport 10.Diane will be meeting with Mitch to discuss the possibility of doing a Strategic Plan.She has spoken to the consultant who completed Gloucester Affordable Housing Trusts Strategic Plan. 11.Prioritizing Trust goals,etc. Each member of RAHTF is to come to the next meeting with their ideas of 2-3 goals.We will discuss those at our next meeting.As well as prioritize our funding sources. 12.Info on Community Impact Fee (CIF) The Mass.Department of Revenue is who collects this tax.Short term lease property owners register themselves with the state.Airbnb and VRBO automatically add a 5.7%tax to the listing. 3%of the tax collected comes to the towns,including Rockport,and is paid quarterly.The SB decided 35%of the 3%CIF will come to the RAHTF.Short term rentals by owner,CraigsList,or by Facebook,it is up to the individual owners to charge and pay the DOR this tax. 13.Member Items: *Diane and Bob are meeting with Mitch about allocating by the SB the Community Impact monies into the Trust account. *Denise and Herm Lilja spoke to Bruce Tarr regarding Affordable Housing.They expressed concern about young working families,Denise talked to him about the possibility of working with the state to optimize Milbrook Park.They talked about the 80%of AMI benchmark,and Bruce mentioned that the state is considering making that a lower benchmark. *Peter spoke to Erin George from Action,Inc.about Affordable Housing Development.She suggested speaking to the Gloucester Affordable Housing Trust to get ideas about what they do, look into rehabs When Action,Inc does develop Affordable Housing,they focus on the location being within walking distance of public transit. Public Comment- Tom Mikus- *Tom stated that the Planning Board site review cannot stop 40B projects.40B just goes through the zoning board of appeals. *Tom,as a member of the Planning Board,also supports increasing the percentage of Affordable Housing in the TOV development. *Tom stated that the sewer treatment capacity is not the problem,it is actually the discharge permit that is at capacity.The state issues a discharge permit for the sewer and a withdrawal permit for the water,and those are at capacity.DPW has a sewer capacity report that has not been released to the public. *Tom also mentioned that the state offers a tax relief program for properties that are Affordable, and thought this could be something that Rockport could consider to help increase Affordable Housing.It would need to be passed at Town Meeting. Toby Arsenian- *Toby stated that site plan review could deny a permit on a proposed project if the infrastructure (water and sewer)couldn’t handle the project.He states that there is nothing in the by-laws saying that a project could be rejected because of water/sewer capacity.He suggested we get someone for DPW to talk with the RAHTF.