Affordable Housing in Weston – Production Plan Makes Progress
Last night, the Housing Production Plan Steering Committee held its second of two public meetings (see Owl from February 25 for more information). Fifty-four residents and 9 panelists attended, with the majority of the residents being 55+. The meeting was led by housing consultant, Jenn Goldson, with input from committee members and town planner Imai Aiu.
The meeting began with definitions of affordable housing terms:
- Low/Moderate Income for Housing: a household that earns not more than 80% of the area median income (AMI). Area income means Boston area, not Weston, which is an important distinction.
- Affordable housing*: Housing is considered affordable if a household pays no more than 30% of gross monthly income for housing costs, has an affordability restriction, and the housing is affirmatively and fairly marketed.
- Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI) – a list of all units in each community that count toward the state’s 10% minimum affordable housing threshold.
- Safe Harbor – A state-certified HPP gives the town “Safe Harbor” status, which allows the town to have more control over 40B developments. Once the town is moving forward in the building, the plan becomes certified.
*At this moment in time, eligible income for affordable housing ranges from single-person households at $67,400 to four-person households at $96,250.
When the recorded presentation becomes available, it is worth taking a look at all of the details. This particular slide gives a closer look at the details about where Weston is, and where it needs to be in terms of Subsidized Housing Inventory. Based on 2010 census figures, Weston needs 395 affordable units, and depending on appeals of the permitted Modera, it is possible that Weston will not be at 8.3% as under the permitted column. If that is not permitted within a year, Weston will be back to 151 units and 3.8%.
The median income in Weston is $181,667. Unsurprisingly, most households with lower incomes are in the 65+ age range. In fact, 23% of Weston households would qualify for affordable housing. One of the more shocking slides showed that while there was an 18% increase in median income in Weston from 2000-2018, median home prices increased 67%. A fixed income senior in Weston is going to have a hard time staying in town. Is that what Weston wants?
The Housing Production Plan Steering Committee has a lot of work in front of them, as does Weston. On the bright side, the housing consultant gave kudos to Weston for putting such a high value on community engagement in housing production planning. Other towns are not as fond of public input.
You can find out who is on the HPP Steering Committee here and contact them with questions and concerns. In addition, the completed 2015 Housing Production Plan is here, and worth perusing for background.