The Board of Selectmen’s meeting on Jan. 24 revealed a lack of consensus between the selectmen and the Harvard Housing Partnership over the pace of affordable housing construction in Harvard.
The HHP discussed their controversial proposal to build up to 45 units of housing in the gravel pit on Stow Road to fend off 40B projects by developers. David Peterson, of Jacob Gates Road, presented a thoughtful analysis projecting substantial increases both in housing units and property tax rates if the HHP itself adopts the 40B formula for affordable housing production.
Board of Selectmen Chairman Bill Marinelli wondered about the urgency of rushing into multiple projects when there has been relatively little interest by developers in pushing 40B housing programs here in Harvard. It was not clear whether he and the other selectmen support the HHP’s ten-year Production Plan which outlines the HHP’s intention of vigorously seeking an average of 16 affordable units annually for the next decade using, primarily, the 40B paradigm.
Perhaps it’s time for the town to postpone any further expenditures for proactively seeking and planning 40B projects until there is an agreed upon town policy, with necessary public discussion, on what can be done about meeting affordable housing goals without inflicting major, permanent damage to our rural landscape and budget.
MORT MILLER, BOB MAYERSON and TONY MAROLDA