In September 2017 Wellesley, through the Board of Selectmen, Planning Board, and Housing Development Corp., issued a request for proposals (RFP) to craft a Housing Production Plan (HPP) that would give the town more control over its housing development destiny. Last summer’s influx of 40B proposals for developments that include affordable housing led residents whose neighborhoods are being targeted by 40B developers to pressure the town to move swiftly on this effort.
How to 40B, how not to 40B, that is the question
The Town set a deadline of Oct. 13, 2017 for RFPs, with the goal of making a decision on a proposal within 90 days of that deadline. Although things are not moving that quickly, the Town has awarded the contract to Barrett Planning Group, LLC to prepare the HPP. In addition, JM Goldson Community Preservation and Planning will work closely on the project as sub-contractors to Barrett.
According to Wellesley Planning Director Michael Zehner, “The contract with Barrett Planning Group, LLC is for $35,000. The funds for this project are made up of $15,000 from the Planning Board/Department Operating Budget (funds for “Other Professional Services”) and $20,000 from the Housing Development Corporation’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund.”
As sub-contractors, JM Goldson will be paid by the lead on the project, Barrett Planning Group. The Town’s contract is solely with Barrett.
Those who fail to plan, plan to fail
The Town will hold three public meetings on the key components of the plan: Needs Assessment; Housing Plan Goals; and Strategies and Implementation. During the meetings, representatives from Barrett and will be there to lead the meetings and answer questions. “For the Plan to be successful we need residents to involve themselves in the development of the Plan. At a minimum we would hope that people would plan to attend one or more of the Workshops being held in March, May, and June,” Zehner said.
The meetings will be held on the following dates and locations:
Tuesday, March 13, 7pm, Sprague School gym
Thursday, May 3, 7pm, Sprague School gym
Tuesday, June 12, 7pm, WHS cafeteria
It’s all about follow-through
As far as timing goes, the Town’s tentative schedule anticipates a joint meeting of the Planning Board and Board of Selectmen on September 10 to consider adoption of the HPP. That’s not too far off the originally targeted time frame of mid-2018. Once the HPP is in place, the Town expects to begin implementation of the recommendations to effect the development of more affordable housing within the Town. Wellesley seeks to get on track to having at least 10% of its housing stock deemed affordable, so that it can defend against hostile 40B proposals.
Let’s talk about our relationships
Expect discussion on the following at the meetings:
Housing Market Analysis and Needs Assessment
Local Housing Conditions and Submarket Boundaries
Affordable Housing Boundaries and Opportunities
Housing Strategies (Action Plan)
Site Suitability Criteria
Identification of Suitable Sites and Prioritization