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Affordable Housing Committee Minutes 09/09/2013
Lenox Affordable Housing Committee & Trustees Meeting
September 9, 2013

Committee Members present:  Kate McNulty-Vaughan (KMV), Ellen Jacobson (EJ) and Debbie Burke (DB).   Trustees present:  Kate McNulty-Vaughan (KMV), Ellen Jacobson (EJ), Jackie McNinch (JM) and Debbie Burke (DB).  

Committee/Trustees Absent:   Jo Anne Magee and Olga Weiss.

Also in attendance: Mary Albertson (MA), Town Planner.  

KMV served as Chair. The meeting was opened at 4:05 PM


This agenda item was tabled.

Sub-Committee Reports:

Public Relations

EJ and KMV did not have an opportunity to meet over the summer.  This matter was tabled to the next meeting.

Mortgage Program

JM reported that the Equity Builder (Federal Home Loan Bark) funds were fully used by August.  Last year the funds were not used as quickly.  There should be another funding round in the spring of 2014.  There were no Lenox projects.  However, JM said there was a great deal of interest and many applications.  However, no Lenox home purchases came to fruition.  

EJ asked JM if there was enough publicity regarding the program?  JM said she felt the publicity was effective because many people inquired about the program.  JM said she contacted the other lender, Bank of Canton, regarding the program and they had a similar experience.  There were people interested in the program but no closings.   

 JM suggested leaving the Town’s program on the table.  Discussion ensued regarding this suggestion.  Overall, the Trustees felt there were benefits to allowing the program to remain active.  JM will work with MA to coordinate review by Town Counsel if there is a qualified candidate.  MA said that there are funds in the Trust to pay for legal fees should there be additional fees.  JM will communicate with the Bank of Canton regarding the status of the Town’s program.  DB, KMV and EJ were in consensus that the Trustees will continue to rely on its lenders to identify potential homebuyers who can benefit from the Town’s program.  

Sawmill Brook

MA said that Tim Geller is required to make his yearly report to the BoS this month.  She believes Mr. Geller will be attending the September 18, 2013 - BoS meeting.  She will confirm the meeting date/time and send an email to the Trustees.  MA cannot attend the BoS meeting because she will be at the Zoning Board of Appeals meeting.  The Trustees will attend the BoS meeting.  

New Members

There are no applications for new members for the Committee or the Trustees.  Recruiting efforts will continue until the vacancies are filled.

New Projects

DB explained that that there is a successful “aging in place” program in Newton, MA.  She talked to the woman who was instrumental in its development.  She offered to follow-up on this idea if there is interest.  Discussion ensued and there was agreement to continue to explore this concept.  There might be community support to host a presentation at the Library.  

MA said it is time to update the Housing Production Plan.  The Committee/Trustees will review the exciting plan and prepare updates.  

DB introduced an interesting project located in the Town of Concord, MA.  It is a combined agricultural protection and affordable housing project.  DB suggested that the affordable housing component is reserved for farmer workers.  She is curious if they were able to count this unit on their subsidized housing inventory.  DB may try to do some research on this matter.  

Old Business

EJ said she had a couple additional comments and questions regarding the Mortgage Program.  It was noted that the banner advertising the program was no longer on the Town of Lenox homepage.  Discussion ensued regarding if it should be restored.   It was agreed that a banner was not needed at this time. However, it was agreed that EJ and KMV will revise the existing program information to clarify that funds are based on availability.  EJ and KMV will coordinate this change with Marie Duby who serves as webmaster.  

JM made a motion to adjourn at 5:30 PM.  EJ seconded the motion and the vote was 4-0 to approve.  

Respectfully Submitted,
Mary Albertson, Town Planner


Lenox Town Hall  6 Walker Street, Lenox, MA 01240   PH: (413) 637-5500