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The housing projects proposed in Montpellier are attracting interest

BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) – Several major housing project proposals in Montpellier aim to provide a mix of affordable housing. As in the rest of Vermont, housing in the capital is tight, but local officials hope new efforts underway will change that.

Ask anyone in Montpellier and they’ll tell you the need for affordable housing is great. He considers himself lucky after finding an apartment in the middle of winter

Housing advocates say there has been no significant investment in housing for years. “In general, Montpelier’s housing needs — which I believe are the same throughout Washington County — require more housing of all hype types and income types,” said Zachariah Watson. of Habitat for Humanity of Central Vermont. He says 32% of Vermont homeowners are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

Rehabilitating old homes in central Vermont is financially out of reach for many, according to Montpelier City Manager Bill Fraser. “Materials, site acquisition, permits – all of this makes it very difficult to sell or rent affordable housing that people are looking for,” he said.

Watson and his team are in the planning stages for 75-100 new mixed-use housing units on Northfield Street on 50 acres of land across from the Econolodge. The complex of individual and multi-unit rental housing, somewhat atypical for a Housing project, aims to promote home ownership for families. “If we weren’t building here, we would be building in rural communities with no utilities, and the impact of forest fragmentation would be worse and it would destroy the character of rural Vermont,” Watson said.

Next to the Econolodge, on the site where the former Brown Derby restaurant stood, the Milton-based Bove brothers hope to build 42 apartments.

And across town, Montpelier is also drawing up plans for housing and a recreation center at the former Elks Club after Town Meeting Day voters backed a bond measure to buy the property. Even then, it could still be years before anyone takes on any of these projects. Fallon says he would like to see more housing and designated green space to improve quality of life. “It’s not just about housing, but also about making the community better and more beautiful,” he said.

Habitat for Humanity will hold public forums in the coming months and plans to wrap up its study by the end of the summer. If they choose to move forward, officials say they hope to innovate in 2024.

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