Housing Production Plan
Location: Falmouth Town Hall
Applicant: Affordable Housing Committee
Grant: $20,000 ($10,000 returned); $35,000
Article/Year: April 2009, A34, April 2017, A43
In 2007 the Town of Falmouth prepared a Housing Needs Assessment and from that, a Housing Production Plan (HPP), which the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board endorsed on November 3, 2008. The HPP included strategies for creating 73 affordable housing units per year in Falmouth for the next five years, with the goal of reaching an affordable housing inventory of 10 percent of all Falmouth housing. The HPP included an estimated timeline associated with each strategy, and the funding for the first year needed to begin implementing this document.
In 2009 the Affordable Housing Committee applied to the Community Preservation Fund for $100,000 and was awarded $20,000 for initial funds in a Housing Production Plan Implementation Fund. The funds would be used to (1) hire a consultant to develop a model of downtown Falmouth and the business redevelopment district to evaluate the effect of creating three-story buildings; (2) develop a homeowner/buyer assistance program including provision of an attorney to assist homeowners/buyers with revolving loan documents; (3) hire an attorney to help with developing a tax incentive program for development of affordable housing and a booklet providing site development standards for Chapter 40 housing developments; (4) identify and evaluate vacant buildings/land in town suitable for housing; and (5) develop additional funds, through grant applications, for a Housing Production Plan Implementation Fund. Implementation funding from the CPFund would be used to leverage such additional State and Federal housing funds. The plan was to seek grants from the Commonwealth and the Cape Cod Commission, and to work with the Barnstable County Resource Department in developing other funding sources. The Implementation Fund was to be used by the Town of Falmouth through the Board of Selectmen, the Planning Board, and the Affordable Housing Committee. It was expected that the Affordable Housing Committee would be the lead entity for implementation of the Production Plan, in collaboration with the Falmouth Housing Trust, the Falmouth Housing Corporation, the Housing Assistance Corporation, The 300 Committee, the Cape Cod Commission, and others. After some initial work on implementation planning, the Board of Selectmen and Planning Board voted not to pursue implementation planning in favor of a state affordable housing implementation manual, and $10,000 were returned to the CPFund.
The Housing Production Plan adopted by the Board of Selectmen in 2008 expired in 2014. The Plan called for the creation of 73 affordable units in Falmouth for the next five years to meet the goal of a 10 percent affordable housing inventory by 2014. However, during those years, town government had other priorities. Nevertheless, local affordable housing developers managed to add twenty-two units to Falmouth’s inventory of affordable housing from 2011 through 2017: three apartments on Shore Street (The Resource Inc.), two ownership homes on St. Marks Road (Falmouth Housing Trust), an ownership duplex on Glenwood (Habitat for Humanity on Cape Cod), eleven apartments on Woods Hole Road (Falmouth Housing Corporation), and four apartments in an adaptive re-use of the Odd Fellows Hall near Town Hall at One Chancery Lane (Falmouth Housing Trust).
In 2014 RKG Associates produced a Housing Demand Study and Needs Assessment for Falmouth which emphasized the urgency of creating affordable units in all income and family categories (individuals, the elderly, families, disabled people). The study emphasized the need for all housing advocates and entities as well as town government to begin collaborating proactively in order to address the need. In response, various sub-groups began meeting to discuss ways of working together; the Town applied to and received from the CPFund a $300,000 grant to the Falmouth Affordable Housing Fund to support the salary of a new position of Housing Coordinator for three years; and the Affordable Housing Committee approached the Community Preservation Committee with a request for $35,000 to fund an updated Housing Production Plan. Town Meeting appropriated the funds for a new Plan and an RFP was issued for its preparation in the summer of 2017. Expectations were high that, with the help and direction of a housing coordinator, all approaches to creating and maintaining sufficient affordable housing in Falmouth could be actively pursued.