Comment sought on Valley Community Development’s affordable home project in North Amherst

Staff Writer
Published: 4/13/2023 10:31:46 AM

AMHERST — Before Valley Community Development moves forward with bringing 30 affordable homes to a North Amherst site, town officials are soliciting input from residents about the suitability of the site and the community need for such a project.

The comments, being solicited through noon on May 1, are required by MassHousing, the state’s quasi-public agency that provides funding for affordable housing projects. Those comments will also help Town Manager Paul Bockelman to submit a comment letter next month.

Valley CDC is looking to build 15 duplexes at 20-40 Ball Lane, an 8.3-acre site that once had a repair garage and trucking terminal. Valley CDC last August bought the property for $850,000 from the Matuszko family and has since removed the structures. Valley CDC’s goal with the project is reaching first-time homebuyers and then marketing the homes to underserved populations, including many who may be racial minorities.

Previously, the Community Economic Development Assistance Corp. announced its support for the project with an acquisition loan and predevelopment loan totaling $1.25 million.

Bockelman said Tuesday that those who comment are welcome to note the general developability of the site and potential impacts on neighborhoods and roads, and whether it is in keeping with the master plan’s aims of bringing more affordable housing. Bockelman said he sees the project as an important opportunity to diversify the town’s housing mix.

Valley CDC is at the project eligibility phase with the submittal of information to MassHousing for an evaluation of the site, the design concept, the financial feasibility of the proposal, and the appropriateness of the proposal as it relates to local housing needs and strategies.