Valley Community Development plans to build an affordable homeownership development which will create an estimated 30 homes on an 9.047-acre property in North Amherst. The development will be 15 duplex condominiums clustered around shared open spaces, and shared parking arrangements will minimize vehicular traffic and emphasize pedestrian connections.
All the homes will be deed restricted to Low-to-Moderate Income first-time homebuyer households, with a preference for first-time homebuyers that meet the CommonWealth Builders (CWB) program purchaser requirements, which is the anticipated state subsidy source for the development.
Valley acquired the site in August 2022. The first schematic site and building plans were presented at the District One Neighborhood Association BBQ in September 2022 with our design team, Peter Flinker from Dodson & Flinker Associates, and Tom Chalmers from Austin Design Cooperative, Inc. A second neighborhood community meeting was held on the property in April 2023 to review the site redevelopment and building plans to date. Valley filed a Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit request with the Amherst Zoning Board of Appeals in September 2023, with the first of several public hearings scheduled for October 2023.
A request for $750,000 of Community Preservation Act funds was approved in February 2023 by the Amherst Town Council. The Amherst Affordable Housing Trust approved an additional $375,000 for the development in September 2023. These funds demonstrate local support for the proposed development and provide a significant local contribution to the construction budget.
For more information on the development design and homebuyer eligibility requirements, please download the FAQ sheet.
The Amherst Community Homes site is located within the North Amherst Qualified Census Tract at the intersection of Montague Road (Route 63) and Pulpit Hill Road. The site is located within ½ mile of the North Amherst Center and 1.2-miles from UMass-Amherst campus. The site is adjacent to two PVTA bus stops.
The proposed housing development includes 15 duplex condominiums clustered around shared open spaces, providing “pocket neighborhoods” within the site. The homes will be primarily concentrated in previously developed areas, preserving the undeveloped land along Montague Road (Route 63) and Pulpit Hill Road. Homes will have a compact building footprint and integrate outdoor living spaces through building and site design. The homes will be passive solar and built to use the sun’s energy directly for either heating or cooling purposes. The dwellings will be fossil-fuel-free, with the goal to add solar photovoltaics to reduce each home’s electricity cost and carbon footprint.
Duplexes will combine 1-story, 1.5-story, and 2-story homes for variation in building rooflines and configurations. Homes will range from 960 to 1,310 GSF depending on the number of bedrooms and bathrooms. Homes will range in size from 995 to 1,273 gross square feet depending on building height and number of bedrooms (2 or 3). All homes are designed to be “visitable” by people with mobility impairments. Six two-bedroom homes are single-story and designed to meet accessibility standards.
All homes will be restricted for sale to first-time homebuyers at 80% AMI or 100% AMI. Generally, this equates to a necessary gross household income ranging from $63,000 to $92,000. Eligible household incomes are set by MassHousing and based on federal HUD household income limits and are adjusted annually.
We anticipate sales prices will range from $150,000 for a 2-BR, 1-story 80% AMI home (lowest cost home) to $225,000 for a 2-story, 3-bedroom 100% AMI home (highest cost home). Final sales prices will be set by MassHousing at the time of marketing and will be based on federal HUD household income limits and market conditions, such as standard mortgage interest rates.
This development will provide much-needed affordable first-time homebuyer opportunities in the Town of Amherst. Like many communities across the state, the housing market in Amherst is experiencing high demand with limited affordable homes for sale. The project will address this demand by providing affordable homeownership opportunities to income-eligible buyers who meet the program requirements and goals of the CommonWealth Builders program.
A copy of the full ZBA application packet for the proposed development can be found on the Town’s website.
- Property purchased (August)
- Site and building design
- Community engagement
- CPA application
- Site and building design
- Community engagement
- Additional local funding requests
- Begin local permitting
- Local permitting complete
- Construction pricing and General Contractor selection
- Grant and foundation funding requests
- State subsidy request
- Finance closing
- Construction start
- Construction completion
- Home sales to qualified buyers
Contact Jessica Allan, Real Estate Project Manager
Phone: 413-586-5855 Ext. 210