PROPOSED BYLAW CHANGES ELDERLY HOUSING DISTRICT
February 6, 2018
The driving force behind the bylaw review is the growing and underserved need in town for senior housing, both affordable and market rate. Seniors over 60 years of age currently represent about 20% of the population of Boxford. By 2030 it is estimated that number will rise to 35%, or almost 3,000 residents. The total senior housing inventory is currently 96 units at Four Mile Village. As a result, our seniors are faced with the option of either being on a very long waiting list or leaving Town.
To encourage more senior development in Town that will serve all income levels, we must re-examine the regulations for the Elderly Housing District. It was originally generated 35 years ago to enable the development of Four Mile Village, which had a specific objective: provide reasonably priced housing for Boxford seniors ... it accomplished this goal admirably. However, requirements and needs have changed since then. Several years after Four Mile Village was constructed The American Disabilities Act (ADA) was established in the 90's that
defined minimum construction requirements for accessibility. There continues to be a need for affordable, accessible units for some seniors. In addition, other seniors are now interested in more up-scaled market rate units, as can be seen from developments in the general area. The current bylaw served its purpose 35 years ago. We now must ensure that it will continue to serve seniors for the next 35 years.
Enabling seniors to retire in the Town that has become part of their life is consistent with the two Town wide goals that the Selectmen established in the summer of 2017
Town-Wide Goal #1: Build belonging, ownership and spirit of community. Specifically, 1) enhance or develop activities and events that generate belonging; 2) build communication resources to build a well-informed community at all ages; 3} establish centers for community and relationship building through the use of locations, permitting and accessibility.
Town-Wide Goal #2: Develop housing options for our community to age in place.
In the comment sections, references are made to Four Mile Village. This is because the original by law was crafted specifically for Four Mile Village.
PROPOSED BYLAW CHANGES
FROM: "... such housing to be owned and operated by a private nonprofit organization."
TO: "... such housing to be owned and operated by a for-profit or nonprofit organization." COMMENTS: Specifying the ownership to be nonprofit will restrict the number of developers that will bid, reducing competition. Four Mile Village was structured as a co-operative. However, owners in future developments may not want their development to be structured this way. A condominium
association is more popular and allows the owner to benefit from appreciation of the property.
FROM:"... the Elderly Housing District shall include: ..."
TO: "... the Elderly Housing District may include: ..."
COMMENTS: Depending on the size of the development, it may not be feasible or desired to include all of the mentioned accessory buildings. Including these will have a negative financial impact on a smaller development.
FROM:"... tools and equipment to maintain and service for the elderly."
TO: "... tools and equipment to maintain and service for the elderly, as well as separate structures to house any water or sewer utility and/or centralized mailbox facility for residents."
COMMENTS: A separate structure for these functions was not mentioned explicitly and may be needed.
196-35 Definitions: "Housing for the elderly"
FROM: "Multifamily dwellings which contain no less than four nor more than 10 independent units consisting of..."
TO: "Multifamily dwellings which consist of buildings containing no less than two nor more than ten
independent units each consisting of..."
COMMENTS: A minimum of 4 units per building will substantially impact the marketability of the market rate units. The surveys that have been performed indicate that a garage is a highly desirable component of the unit. Four units per building plus a garage would add substantially to the aesthetics and "visual impact" to the building. Four Mile Village units were less than 1200 square feet and did not have a garage.
196-35 Definitions: "Housing for the elderly"
FROM: "... no unit in any building shall be occupied unless at least one tenant is a person who is 60 years of age or over."
TO: Replace with "Each building and each unit shall be restricted to occupancy as an age-restricted
community in which at least one occupant of each unit shall be at least 55 years of age or older at the time of occupancy in accordance with 24 CFR 100, 300 and other applicable laws, and provide such occupancy conforms with the Federal Fair Housing Act, 42 USC Section 3607(b), as amended, the regulations promulgated thereunder at 24 CFR Section 100,300 et seq., Subpart E- Housing for Older Persons, as amended, and the Massachusetts Fair Housing law, MGL c. 151B, Section 4.
COMMENTS: There are two Mass state requirements: either one person must be at least 55 or both
people must be at least 62. One concern is that this would affect the marketability of the units. A Town wide goal of the Selectmen is to build belonging, ownership and spirit of community. If both people must be at least 62 then the time to build community in the senior development is limited. If only one person is 55 then there is more time to build a spirit of community in the senior development.
TO BE ADDED AS NEEDED: Design shall be consistent with Boxford housing. This shall be determined during the site plan review as detailed in 196-30.
COMMENTS: Does the Planning Board require more definition to have the ability implement this
intention? If sufficient flexibility exists in 196-30(D) then this modification does not need to be added.
The Boxford Housing Partnership