In October 2019, the Great Barrington Affordable Housing Trust Fund (AHTF) applied to the Community Preservation Committee for funding to purchase the Alden Property on Route 41 in the village of Housatonic, Town of Great Barrington, for the purpose of developing affordable housing on the lot.
In January 2020, The Community Preservation Committee recommended this project for funding and referred the proposal to Town Meeting. The AHTF had two abutters meetings and hired Construct to do a Feasibility Study of the project. Construct and Habitat for Humanity met with the neighbors over coffee at Pleasant and Main in early March 2020.
The concerns of the neighbors included environmental issues and road access which are addressed in the engineer’s report. They expressed a preference for a homeownership development and expressed their support for Habitat for Humanity. One person expressed a preference for single story homes.
The consensus of the neighbors, the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and the town of Great Barrington, is that the project should target homeownership. Since the Central Berkshire chapter of Habitat for Humanity is interested in both expanding to South County and increasing the size of their developments, the feasibility study is based on the following proposition:
That Habitat For Humanity will build 14 units of simple decent affordable homes on 7.25 acres on North Plain Road. The development will be clustered in the center of the acreage, leaving a buffer of trees between the new houses and the existing abutters. In concordance with the recommendation of White Engineering (see engineering report), the development will be accessed by a new, more visible curb cut onto North Plain Road, which will come into a cul-de-sac. Water will be provided by Housatonic Water Company and the site will be will be connected to the town sewer by extending the line from the corner of Oak and Main in Housatonic. The Trust will apply for a MassWORKS grant to fund the infrastructure work.
At the June 2020 Town Meeting, citizens voted to approve funds for the purchase. In October, 2020, the Trust issued a RFP to develop the property.
Development history/process for the Alden Property in Housatonic