Affordable Housing Bill May Hurt Affordable Housing In Vermont

<p>A bill intended to expand the stock of affordable housing in Middlebury, Vermont, is coming under criticism for actually making it harder for developers to build affordable housing.</p>
March 26, 2008, 6am PDT | Nate Berg
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"Local planners and developers joined the Douglas administration last week in panning a House-passed affordable housing bill they said was more of an anti-sprawl measure that would not substantially boost the state's stock of low-cost homes."

"The bill, which received final approval in the House on Wednesday by a 79-61 tally, proposes to create economic incentives and streamline the Act 250 permitting process for developers proposing projects containing at least 20-percent affordable housing in and around designated downtowns and villages."

"'I don't doubt that the intentions of the bill are worthy, but the unintended consequences will be just the opposite of what it's hoping to accomplish,' said Bill Sayre, a Bristol resident and leader of Associated Industries of Vermont, an organization that advocates for public policy that protects the 'private enterprise economy' in the state."

"Sayre and other opponents of the bill argue that it may actually make it harder for developers to build affordable housing - even at the monetary threshold prescribed by the legislation. That threshold is 80 percent of Vermont Housing Finance Agency's limit for new homes, which translates to $219,200 in Addison County - an amount that many argue is too high to be considered affordable. The legislation calls for the units to remain ‘affordable' for at least 15 years."

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Published on Monday, March 24, 2008 in Addison County Independent
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