2018-10-11 / Front Page

Carr Lane affordable housing advances

Planning board divides lot, frees 1.3 acres for homes

The town is in the midst of negotiating a purchase-and-sale agreement that would set aside 1.3 acres on Carr Lane for affordable housing.

While Town Administrator Andy Nota has signed the sale side of the contract, Church Community

Housing Corporation’s signature is pending. Nota expects to have the agreement finalized before the end of the week.

“They’re just doing their due diligence,” he said.

Although the town is optimistic about the organization’s commitment, Nota said the project will be an uphill battle.

After the second signature is secured, the contract still requires approval following a comprehensive permit process with local and state agencies. The lot does not conform with the municipal zoning ordinance because it only is 59,000 square feet; 200,000 square feet is required in that zoning district. Also, the property is outside of the urban utility district, which means an onsite treatment system for wastewater will have to be installed. The state Department of Environmental Management oversees those applications.

Church Community Housing also will have to apply for grants to secure money before the project can be developed.

“We have a long way to go,” Nota said.

The lot at 91 Carr Lane was purchased by the town from the Rafferty family in June for $450,000. The rear 5.5 acres, which abut the reservoir watershed, will be preserved. The planning commission unanimously subdivided the property at its Aug. 15 meeting.

Because Church Community Housing has not yet signed the agreement, a sale price has not been disclosed. According to Nota, the number of affordable units will determine the town’s investment.

A state mandate requires each municipality set aside 10 percent of its housing stock for affordable housing. According to a 2017 report by Roger Williams University, there are 131 affordable units in town from an inventory of 2,995 units, or roughly 4.4 percent.

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