Nantucket — In conjunction with the Nantucket Housing Authority, the Housing Assistance Corporation of Hyannis is holding a public meeting on September 29 to introduce the HAC’s development team for the new, 50-unit, owner-occupied, mixed-income Sachem’s Path home project on nine acres along Surfside Road. On July 7 Housing Assistance Corporation won the bid for the development over E.A. Fish Companies based in Braintree.
The public session will take place from 6 to 7:30 p.m. at the high school. The development team will be introduced to residents and will discuss the project that consists of affordable one-, two- and three-bedroom homes on land abutting the Housing Authority’s Miacomet Village subsidized rental units. In addition, people interested in living at Sachem’s Path will learn how to become ready to buy a home there with assistance from HAC’s Cape Cod Real Estate Department and others. The project is scheduled for construction in three phases.
“This meeting is more than for people who want to buy, but also for those who want to know what’s going on,” said Gisele Gauthier, the Director of Housing Development in HAC’s Housing Development Department. “We have a plan to break ground in the fall of 2011. We have just submitted a proposal to the Community Preservation Committee asking for $1 million for the design, planning and permitting of the project and infrastructure. We have gathered a group of 12 people from Nantucket to address the project and educate about the Nantucket environment as the design is developed.”
The advisory panel will include Preston and Tandi Harimon, Catherine Ancero, Jason and Venessa Larrabee, Mickey Rowland, Mark McDougall, Penny Dey, Mark Voigt, Sarah Moe Ray, Cormac Collier, Dirk Roggeveen and Alison Brown.
A key point in the Sachem’s Path plan is to allow potential home owners to have input into the design, site position relative to the street and window and door types for their houses.
“It is going to be a really exciting approach,” said Renee Ceely, the NHA executive director.
In its development proposal, the HAC wrote, “We believe that for us to orchestrate and conduct this community development process will require approximately six months and will result in the highest quality housing while maximizing island business and community involvement. We realize that this is unconventional, but what we intend to achieve is also unconventional — and quite special as well.”
The property was conveyed to the HAC with perpetual affordable housing deed restrictions to be placed on every unit and a first right of refusal granted to the NHA in the event of a sale. The project is important to the authority because a significant portion of the island’s year-round housing has been purchased for summer homes, leaving many community residents unable to buy property at its subsequently inflated value. A 2002 Housing Action Plan survey done by the town revealed that the housing crisis amounts to the primary source of ‘most of Nantucket’s economic, social and even environmental problems.’
The Housing Assistance Corporation has been building affordable dwellings for nearly 30 years totaling approximately 350 units, including five housing developments between 2006 and 2008. The corporation currently has 62 rental units under construction on the mainland.
Its development team for the Nantucket project is comprised of professionals who have worked with HAC on previous projects in the Northeast and includes architects Coldham & Hartman of North Amherst, Mass. and Brown, Lindquist, Fenuccio and Raber of Yarmouthport, Mass. The landscape architect is Coplon Associates based in Bar Harbor, Maine but also licensed in Massachusetts, and the design consultant is South Mountain Company owned by John Abrams of West Tisbury, on Martha’s Vineyard. Horsley Witten Group, which has been involved with other Nantucket projects, will be the civil engineer. The general contractor and subcontractors will be local people, Ceely explained.
The development, formally called the Sachem’s Path Homeownership Project, will consist of 25 percent of its homes priced for families earning between 60 and 80 percent of Nantucket’s median income and the remainder priced for those earning 81 to 150 percent of the median income.
The architectural requirements reflect traditional local designs. The developer will create a community feel for the project while also using site methods and landscaping to provide privacy for the units. All steps necessary will be taken to make the homes energy efficient and save on water. The bidders were evaluated, in part, according to their intent to utilize a local workforce in construction and management of the property. The Sachem’s Path property manager will be the Nantucket Housing Authority.