Valley News – Twin Pines builds affordable housing for sale in Woodstock

WOODSTOCK – Twin Pines Housing is adding up to 8 units for sale to its Safford Commons complex, as part of its ongoing efforts to make homeownership more affordable.

Housing applications open in September for new housing, where four of the units are currently under construction in the complex located near Highway 4 in Woodstock.

The two-story, two-bedroom condominiums will cost $ 185,000 and the two-story, three-bedroom condominiums will cost $ 222,000, well below market rates for such units. A second phase of the project, which would develop four additional units for the property, will likely begin within the next two years, said Andrew Winter, executive director of Twin Pines Housing.

Unlike the current Safford rentals, the new housing units will be aimed at homebuyers. In addition to the income criteria, homebuyers will need to accept a pledge to limit the amount of appreciation they can get on resale to 25%, Winter said. This agreement will keep unit costs affordable “in perpetuity”.

Twin Pines opened 28 rental housing units in Safford Commons six years ago after years of legal wrangling with some opponents of the project in Woodstock.

But the new units appear to be welcomed by members of the business community, who say affordable housing is needed to enable workers to live in cities.

“It affects us all,” said Jeffrey Kahn, administrator of Woodstock Village and owner of the Unicorn gift shop. “We really had to scramble to find enough help for us during the summer. Any improvement in affordable housing is beneficial.

As traders struggle to find workers, economic development constraints in Woodstock have reached “very serious levels,” said Woodstock Economic Development Commission chairman Jonathan Spector. The incomes of many employees are too low for living options in the area, so affordable housing could directly benefit local businesses looking to hire.

The affordable housing deficit has hit catering businesses particularly hard, Kahn said, and Woodstock Farmers Market said “more housing here in this area would be wonderful.”

Buyers of two- or three-bedroom units will have to meet income criteria, ensuring the homes will go to people who need them. Income cannot exceed $ 66,240 in a one-person household, $ 75,720 in a two-person household or $ 85,200 in a three-person household.

“I’m sure there are people who can buy it, and there are a lot of people who really, really need it too,” said Janet Herrick, a resident of Safford Commons, who has moved there. when it opened in 2015, the house was affordable at the time, but since her husband Joe passed away in August, it has become more difficult to pay rent.

“I’m listening to Willie Nelson,” she said. “He says ‘you don’t get over it, you go through it.'”

Woodstock City Manager Bill Kerbin said providing more affordable housing would benefit the city and potential workers.

“It’s definitely a need,” he said.

A “Keys to the Valley” report released this spring by three regional planning commissions found that around 10,000 new housing units are needed by 2030 to meet the growing demand for housing in the Upper Valley.

Spector recognizes that it can be difficult to talk about affordable housing because different people understand that it means different things.

“For some people, affordable housing means providing housing to people who cannot afford it and this is a societal need … others think they don’t want to have it in their backyard,” Spector said. “Another definition of affordable housing is housing that people in our community or people just starting out in their careers can afford … The only problem is doing it in a physical way that doesn’t destroy the historic character of Woodstock. . ”

To that end, EDC formed a housing task force late last year to target this issue. One solution is secondary housing, which allows small dwellings to be built on top of existing dwellings, such as an apartment by law. With a large population of adults with adult children, turning a few rooms above a garage into a small apartment, for example, is an attractive option for housing development in Woodstock.

Spector said he wanted community members to know that they are “working on it.” We welcome their ideas and any interest they have in pursuing projects in Woodstock. I think it will take time, but we are working on it.

Jasmine Taudvin can be reached at [email protected]

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