HADLEY — A state panel is overturning a town Zoning Board of Appeals decision that rejected plans to convert a former Route 9 hotel into an affordable housing development, meaning the $13 million rehabilitation of the property can proceed.
The Housing Appeals Committee, in a Nov. 22 ruling, called the decision by the Zoning Board on March 20 “unreasonable and inconsistent with local needs” and that Valley Community Development, the nonprofit agency which owns the former Econo Lodge at 329 Russell St., should be issued a comprehensive permit for its plans to turn the hotel into 51 apartments for up to 63 low- and moderate-income individuals.
“We are thrilled about the decision from HAC given the incredible need for more affordable housing in our community,” Valley CDC Executive Director Alexis Breiteneicher wrote in an email.
Breiteneicher said having the zoning permit allows Valley CDC to apply for the necessary funding, though creating the permanent housing, situated near the Mountain Farms Mall and many stores and restaurants, is still a ways off, with construction possibly a year or two from beginning.
“We are so appreciative of the many boards and residents of Hadley who supported this development, and us, through the process,” Breiteneicher said, referring to support from both the Select Board and Planning Board