HOPE planning to renovate subsidized apartment building

BRISTOL — At its Monday meeting, the Bristol selectboard agreed to sponsor an application by the organization Helping Overcome Poverty’s Effects (HOPE) to the Vermont Community Development Program for a $30,000 planning grant to renovate two subsidized housing buildings on Hunt Farm Road.
“We really do need housing for low-income people,” said HOPE Executive Director Jeanne Montross. “We desperately need housing for low-income people.”
The Vermont Community Development Program requires municipal sponsorship for a planning grant from the town where a project is located, Montross explained. The town’s role will be to provide grant administration, working through Town Administrator Therese Kirby and Zoning Administrator Eric Forand.
HOPE built the two affordable housing apartment buildings in 1993 and still owns them. On-the-ground management is now carried out by the Addison County Community Trust (ACCT). Both Montross and ACCT Executive Director Elise Shanbacker presented the proposed renovation of the Bristol Family Housing development at the Aug. 8 selectboard meeting.
Montross said the planning grant would be used for a market study to see what kinds of affordable apartments are most needed in the Bristol area.
“The market study will tell us what are the types of units that are in demand at this point in that area? Do we need more units? Are the needs being met? Do we need more one bedrooms vs. more two or three bedrooms? Should we keep it the same? What are the needs of the different segments of the population? — disabled people, working people, people at different income levels?” said Montross.
The study will also bring in an engineer to evaluate the capacity of the water supply and wastewater systems and an architect to do a code review for fire safety and similar issues.
The planned renovation will include improvements to the outside of the buildings as well.
“The property, as any 20-plus-year-old property, is at the point where it needs a recapitalization. It needs to be rehabilitated and redeveloped,” said Montross. “The units look nice inside but they need upgrades. We need to do some work on the building envelope.”
Renovation to the physical structure would include replacing siding, upgrading windows and doors, improving insulation and making sure the buildings are as energy efficient as possible, said Montross.
In other business the Bristol selectboard:
• Discussed where to place the waterline extension on Mountain View Street that will supply the Bristol Village Cohousing development, currently under construction. Of concern is how to place the waterline to preserve existing trees and cause the least disruption to the road surface and to paved driveways on Mountain View, while keeping the required distance from septic systems.
• Voted to pave the emergency responder entrance on the west side of the new fire station. The town has received a bid for $11,655 and will be seeking additional bids.
• Voted to install a “No Right Turn on Red” signal on North Street at the corner of West Street. The estimated cost is around $4,000. The signal would only be activated when pedestrians activate the walk button.
• Voted to remove the dog waste trashcan and dispenser from the town green.
• Heard from Bristol Planning Commission Chair Sue Kavanagh, who sketched out the timeline and action steps for revising the town’s zoning regulations and town plan. The planning commission expects to have the revised zoning regulations up for voter approval on Town Meeting Day 2017. Once the commission completes its work on the zoning regulations, it would then turn its attention to the town plan, which by state law must be reapproved by November 2017. Bristol approved its current town plan in November 2012.
Reporter Gaen Murphree is reached at [email protected].

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