Harborlight gets OK to research 3 possible sites for affordable housing

The Salem News | By Arianna MacNeill
December 8, 2016

HAMILTON — The Board of Selectmen has given Harborlight Community Partners the OK to research three potential sites for affordable housing in town.

Whether any of these sites will eventually become an affordable housing complex is undecided — the move simply gives Harborlight the authority to begin technical review of property at 13 Essex St., an open parcel on the Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary campus, and open space on Longmeadow Way.

This is another step toward meeting the town’s housing needs for low- to moderate-income families — the town already signed a Host Community Agreement, which allows the town and Harborlight to work together to identify sites where affordable housing could go.

Just 3 percent of Hamilton’s housing inventory is affordable under state and federal guidelines — well under the state’s mandated 10 percent threshold. This deeply contrasts the town’s need — about 25 percent of the population in town could qualify for affordable housing, according to Peter Britton, chair of Hamilton’s Affordable Housing Trust.

The next step for Harborlight is looking at each of the sites to see if building there is viable, according to Andrew Defranza, Harborlight’s executive director. If any of the sites could work in a technical capacity, Harborlight will begin holding meetings with neighbors to answer their questions and concerns.

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