Last week Woodstock Community Trust, Twin Pines Housing Trust, and Housing Vermont celebrated the start of construction of Safford Commons in Woodstock. A recent article from Valley News discusses some of the struggles they faced throughout the years to get the project started. From the article:
Since 2005, when Housing Vermont, Twin Pines Housing Trust and the Woodstock Community Trust first purchased the land, the groups have met opposition from abutters before the Woodstock Development Review Board, the Vermont Environmental Court, voters in the Woodstock Central Supervisory Union, the district’s school board and, ultimately, the Vermont Supreme Court, which finally affirmed in January its ruling that the project didn’t infringe on neighbor property rights, ending the legal battle. Many of the make-or-break rulings along the way have been marked by split decisions, reversals and appeals, which fueled continued opposition and created more delays. Andrew Winter, executive director of Twin Pines, said he hasn’t seen such a delay in his 19 years in the industry. “This is one of the longest delayed affordable housing projects in the state, if not the longest in the state,” he said. Now, the developers hope to put all of the controversy behind them. “It’s not about the past,” said Sassorossi. “It’s about what’s coming up.” Winter said the project will help to address a critical shortage of affordable housing in the Upper Valley, which he said has created wait lists that can keep would-be renters on hold for years. “The reality is that the housing market in the Upper Valley is incredibly tight with vacancy rates of less than 5 percent, and for affordable units 1 to 2 percent.” The project, once built, will help to alleviate a bit of that strain, he said. “Being able to bring new units to a town like Woodstock is incredibly exciting because it helps people, reduces commute times and gets people into safe, attractive, energy-efficient housing,” he said.
To read the complete article click here.