Letter: Housing group chairs urge support of four Town Meeting articles  

February 19, 2024

As chairs of the Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust, Concord Housing Authority, Concord Housing Development Corporation and Concord Housing Foundation, we are grateful for the community’s support for expanding affordable housing opportunities in our town. As voters prepare for the April 29, 2024 Annual Town Meeting — including a series of public hearings to be held between February 26 and March 21 — we urge your support of the following: 

Article 32, Fossil Fuel-Free Demonstration: Bylaw Amendments for Program Participation, sponsored by the Select Board, would amend the town bylaw governing Concord’s participation in the state’s fossil fuel-free pilot program, by extending its scope to include all new construction and major renovations, including affordable housing, as recommended by the state. This article promotes energy efficient affordable housing in Concord, and we support it. 

Article 34, Zoning Map and MBTA Communities Multi-family Overlay Zoning District, would expand housing opportunities and bring Concord into compliance with state law by identifying some 84 acres, spread across five subdistricts, where multi-family dwellings would be allowed as a use by right, but subject to Planning Board site plan review. We commend the Planning Board for its thoughtful year-long public engagement process which identified areas near both commuter rail stations, and beyond, where this zoning would be appropriate. We are also pleased that, for projects of 10 or more units, this bylaw would require a percentage of those units to be affordable at 80% of area median income (AMI) and thus countable on the town’s Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI). The percentage of units — 20%, 15% or 10% — will be determined by an economic feasibility analysis to be completed in the coming weeks. 

Article 35, Two-family Dwelling Unit in Residence B Zoning District, proposed by the Planning Board, would allow two-family dwellings by special permit in the Residence B Zoning District. Such approval was granted for Residence C in 2021. Under this zoning, the maximum size of a structure on a lot would be the same for either a single-family dwelling or for a two-family dwelling. Because this would expand housing opportunities in Concord, we support it. 

Article 40, the Community Preservation Committee’s Appropriation Recommendation, includes $500,000 for the Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust to continue to advance Housing Production Plan priority projects as they become ready to proceed. Units created with these funds would be affordable at up to 80% of AMI, and countable on the town’s SHI. This article also includes $33,500 for the town’s continued participation in the Regional Housing Services Office, which provides professional support to Concord in developing and administering our affordable housing programs. We support also $200,000 for the Assabet River Bridge design and permitting project, which will leverage some $8 million in state and federal funds for this proposed extension of the Bruce Freeman Rail Trail across the Assabet to link the Concord Meadows Corporate Center — including the NOVO Riverside Commons 40B — with West Concord MBTA commuter rail station and village. 

Thanks very much for your consideration and support of affordable housing in Concord. 

Keith Bergman, Concord Municipal Affordable Housing Trust chair 

Stephanie Chrobak, Concord Housing Authority chair 

Lee Smith, Concord Housing Development Corporation chair 

Frank “Rich” Feeley, Concord Housing Foundation president