Observer Corps Report June 2019
Please note that this report is based on the draft and approved minutes of the February-May committee meetings and attendance of a League observer at the February 21, March 21st, April 4th, and April 18th meetings.
Mission Statement of the Affordable Housing Committee The Falmouth Affordable Housing Committee assists the Board of Selectmen in its efforts to provide a full range of housing choices for households of all incomes, ages and abilities. In order to make it more inclusive, the mission statement was amended at the May 16, 2019 meeting of the committee to add the term "abilities".
The Affordable Housing Committee (AHC) is advisory to the Board of Selectmen, and has no regulatory or legal role and has no paid staff. The AHC meets on the 3rd Thursday of the month from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Town Hall, Old Water Department Room. The members are Edward Curley (Chair), Holly Wilson (Vice-chair), Jessica O'Brien (Clerk), Pamela Harting-Barrat, PhD, and Renie Brunn. Joe Lemay was a member and Clerk of the Committee until the June 2019 meeting. Joe moved to the Finance Committee, but will continue to attend committee meetings. Also, attending most meetings was Carla Feroni, Falmouth Housing Coordinator and Karen Bissonnette, Falmouth Housing Trust Director. The Committee is currently short 2 members.
The brief Mission Statement of the AHC belies the importance of its work. Indeed, the AHC is impacted by actions and policies of federal, state, regional, and local governmental, non-profit, and for-profit entities. In December 2018 a draft was published of the Town of Falmouth, Massachusetts Housing Production Plan (HPP). In Table 1-1 Summary of Housing Strategies, the AHC is listed among the responsible parties for 5 items. These were listed under the Capacity Building Strategies and the Development Strategies and Preservation Strategies Sections. Currently, the committee is monitoring progress on 13 properties. Each property is followed through the planning, permitting, construction, marketing, and occupation stages. There has been one completed house project so far in 2019. Through the Falmouth Housing Trust, a father and his two sons occupied a three-bedroom, one-bathroom house in April. So, the process works.
Members of FHC are highly knowledgeable and extremely dedicated to the mission of the committee. The monthly meetings are held in an open manner with members of the public occasionally in attendance. Meetings are conducted respectfully and amicably. Agendas are posted online with appropriate timeliness. There is both supportive and not supportive interest in affordable housing in Falmouth. For example, between February 22 and May 31, 2019 the Falmouth Enterprise has published at about 17 articles concerning this issue.
Kerry Walton, LWVF Observer Submitted June 2019