We currently work in tandem with the Housing Authority to build affordable housing in the style of multiple rental units, a project that promises to keep operational costs down and is a better fit for the needs of the Truro Community.
The First Affordable Accessory Dwelling Unit (AADU) of Truro Breaks Ground
Katherine Black, board member and clerk for Highland Affordable Housing, inc., is the first Truro resident to test Truro’s AADU By-Law, 40.2. She was granted the special permit by the Planning Board on April 12, 2016. Her journey began in October 2015, when she decided to build a garage, with living space on the second floor, on her property near Corn Hill. She had heard about the AADU By-Law and that it would allow an apartment to be built, as opposed to simply an additional bedroom or studio. She also knew that for whatever reason, the By-Law had not been used yet. As a retired government program administrator, she was undaunted by the various regulations and requirements, and set to work doing research, making contacts and hiring an engineer and a contractor.
The challenges of the By-Law include compliance with affordable housing regulations, Title V septic system regulations, as well as building codes for the separate household. A tax rebate is available if the owner is willing to restrict their property deed in perpetuity. This deed restriction can lower the value of the property.
The prospective tenant must meet income guidelines provided by US Housing and Urban Development (HUD) FMR for Barnstable County, annually. Ms. Black will, upon finding an eligible and suitable tenant, refer to the Fair Market Rental Guidelines provided by HUD to set the monthly rent to be paid. She will obtain a Certificate of Occupancy from the Building Commissioner prior to any occupancy of the AADU (not required for additional bedrooms or studios).
In granting the special permit for this first Truro AADU, the Planning Board asked Ms. Black if she would be willing to work with them on simplifying the process. She is more than willing. One option might be to offer a permit for an accessory unit without the “affordable” requirement. Year round occupancy would be a requirement. Another option would be to allow the accessory unit without deed restriction, dropping the tax rebate. When and if a revision is completed, it will go before residents at Town Meeting.
Ground breaking for Truro’s first official AADU occurred June 8, 2016. Stay tuned for updates!
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HAH began its first affordable housing project in 1995, when two “Coast Guard” houses were purchased and moved to land on Old Firehouse Road, thus providing two ownership units in the Town of Truro. The two families who purchased those houses (a total of six children, ten citizens) are still living in them. They are contributing members of the Truro community.
After HAH hired John F. Noons to separate the Coast Guard building into two houses and move them, Highland managed the entire project, which effectively involved rehabbing the dwellings to make them suitable for occupancy. East Cape Engineering was hired to do plot plans and foundation drawings. D. Nickerson was hired for the foundations; HAH coordinated volunteers to seal the outside. In addition, HAH hired and managed the work of subcontractors to repair shingles and trim, replace windows and doors, build basement stairs, rear exit deck and stairs, and numerous other areas; to restore the wood flooring; to install insulation; to repair the tile bathrooms; to install the furnaces, fuel oil tanks, and bring plumbing up to code; to review the electric to bring the houses up to code, hook up the furnace and complete other necessary work. HAH then contracted with the Housing Assistance Corporation/Cape Clearing House for Affordable Housing Home Buyers to conduct the lottery and award the houses.
The journey of the Coast Guard houses! Moving, siting and finishing.
First Discovery Road Project
In March 2008 Highland Affordable Housing, Inc. was awarded a contract by the Town of Truro and the Truro Housing Authority to build an affordable housing duplex at First Discovery Road, off Snow’s Road, and we broke ground in December 2009. The building will consist of a one- bedroom unit and a two-bedroom unit. The one-bedroom will be subject to both elderly housing and affordable housing restrictions, and will in addition be a handicapped apartment; the two-bedroom will be subject to an affordable housing restriction only.
The duplex is being developed as a Local Initiative Project in concert with the Town of Truro and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It will be affirmatively marketed and preference will be given to the extent permissible under law to Truro residents or individuals with ties to Truro. Our management partner is the Community Development Partnership (CDP), a locally based non-profit organization founded in 1992 that currently manages more than 45 rental units in seven Lower Cape towns, including one in Truro.
In spring 2008 Town Meeting voted $150,000 in Community Preservation funds for this project and in spring 2009 approved an additional $160,000. HAH also received $25,000 from the Barnstable County HOME Consortium to help support construction of the elder accessible unit. Active fundraising produced the money necessary to meet total project costs. Project completion is expected in the summer of 2010 and occupancy in the fall.
The contour of the .63 acre lot required careful siting to accommodate well, septic system, driveway entrance, and the architect and landscape designer effectively included outdoor space for both dwellings within the proposed design, which is fully compatible with the surrounding area, including the adjacent Watts-Morris house. John Thornley, a Truro architect, supplied initial siting information. Hadley Crow Studio provided detailed architectural design and site plan and the construction budget. James Hadley of Orleans, MA, is a registered architect with a specialty in environmentally sensitive and historically appropriate design; Patricia Crow is a registered landscape architect with a background in historic landscape preservation. Cape Associates of Eastham was awarded the contruction contract.
As the site is nicely wooded, including a stand of elms, the plan presumed no clear-cutting and as much retention of natural plant materials as possible. There is a full basement below the 2-story portion, and slab on grade for the 1-story portion. Slab on grade keeps the floor of the disabled unit closer to grade, minimizing access ramp length and avoiding a “handicapped” appearance for the unit. Extensive storage space is available in the closets on the wall between the two units, which also function as sound baffles. Insulation is R-39 ceilings, R-19 floors, R-13 frame-walls, R- 10 basement walls (2.125 thick rigid insulation on the exterior of the walls); appliances will be Energy Star, and an excellent HERS rating is anticipated. Heat will be propane. Since the First Discovery RFP called for three bedrooms on a .63 acre lot, an Innovative/Alternative system was necessary. Rosano Davis is the installer.
The two-bedroom unit will be rented to a family whose maximum income from all sources does not exceed 80 percent of the area median income; the income ceiling for the one-bedroom senior accessible unit is 60 percent of the area median income.
Shore Road Project
In December 2007 Highland Affordable Housing, Inc. was awarded a contract by the Town of Truro and the Truro Housing Authority to design, build and manage an affordable rental duplex dwelling at 53 Shore Road. Our environmentally sensitive and energy efficient design and site plan is appropriate not only to the North Truro village center and surrounding family neighborhood but to the history lost when the 19th-century building that became the early 20th-century Village Hall was truncated in its conversion to a firehouse and later demolished.
We broke ground in December 2008 and completed the 53 Shore Road affordable duplex in our town’s Tercentenary, thus honoring the 300th anniversary of Truro’s founding by presenting to the town in 2009 a building from our community past reinvented to meet our present pressing needs – both for affordable housing and for environmental husbanding.
The duplex was speedily rented to qualified families. We’re proud to announce that in January 2010 our building received LEED platinum status – the highest grade awarded by the U.S. Green Building Council. There are only two other platinum residential projects on Cape Cod. The duplex was developed as a Local Initiative Project-40B in concert with the Town of Truro and the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). It was affirmatively marketed and preference given to the extent permissible under law to Truro residents or individuals with ties to Truro. Our management partner is the Community Development Partnership (CDP), a locally based non-profit organization founded in 1992 that currently manages more than 45 rental units in seven Lower Cape towns, including one in Truro. In late 2008, our project qualified for participation in the Cape Light Compact’s Green Affordable Homes Program, which provided solar panels for the duplex’s south-facing roof.
The building consists of two two-bedroom units, each with one full and one half bath. The units are available for families whose maximum income from all sources does not exceed 60 percent of the area median income, and they are rented at rates not to exceed 60 percent of the area median income. HAH supplemented the $350,000 in Community Development funds allocated by Town Meeting to this project with a $50,000 award from the Barnstable County HOME Consortium, and private funds raised through a two-year effort.
The contour and size of the .59 acre lot at 53 Shore Road required careful siting to accommodate septic system, driveway entrance and parking, and to allow for gardening and playground space for the two tenant families. Hadley Crow Studio of Orleans MA provided a detailed architectural design and site plan as well as a conservative construction budget. James Hadley is a registered architect with experience in affordable housing and a specialty in environmentally sensitive and historically appropriate design; Patricia Crow is a registered landscape architect with a background in historic landscape preservation.
The Housing Authority had requested a building that recalled the original Village Hall. Following that design direction in the architectural plans for the duplex, Hadley Crow Studio worked with Connor Homes of Middlebury, VT, on bidding documents. The construction contract was awarded to McShane Construction of Osterville, MA., and Cotuit Solar installed the rooftop PV panels.
Important factors to note in the Hadley Crow design and site plan for 53 Shore Road are the degree to which the building is oriented both to acknowledge the connection on the lot to the old Village Hall/Firehouse and to optimize green-building opportunities: all major spaces have south- facing windows, providing sunlight to the interior and thus passive solar gain to supplement the solar panels made possible by the Green Affordable Homes Program. Each unit has two entries, as required by the Massachusetts building code: the front exits also provide easy access to the parking area; the exits give on the path to the playground and garden areas in the rear of the lot. Native drought resistant grass plantings along the path provide for easy maintenance; there is also be a small front yard facing Shore Road, planted with Cape Cod grass mix, and a swale with native bushes at the rear of the parking area.
The building connects with town water; heating is propane, and the PV panels on the roof produce most of the electricity.