Waterfield Task Force Call For Volunteers In Town Of Winchester

Qualifications


July 13, 2021

The Select Board is seeking one (1) One representative with a background/experience in multi-unit affordable residential real estate development or multi-unit residential real estate finance in general; and one (1) representative of the downtown Winchester business community to serve on the Waterfield Task Force to assist them in the development of affordable housing on the town-owned Waterfield Lot. The members will be appointed for a period of time until voted upon by the Select Board, but it is anticipated that the appointment will be at least through 2021 Fall Town Meeting.

The purpose of the Waterfield Task Force is to advise the Select Board on its upcoming re-negotiation of, or revisions to, the proposed Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) between the Town and Civico. The Task Force will consider and prioritize community viewpoints and develop recommendations to the Select Board.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • To meet as often as needed (may be weekly) in order to provide timely advice to the Select Board in their negotiations;
  • To attend a briefing and review materials provided to the Task Force on the issues and concerns surrounding the development of the Waterfield lot, the availability of affordable housing in Winchester, the financing of mixed income housing developments, the costs of garage parking facilities, and the CIVICO proposal;
  • To hold at least one public meeting for community input and consider input from the public that is received by the Town Manager’s office;
  • To work with an independent financial analyst to provide information that would be helpful to the Select Board and general public’s understanding of the project;
  • To supply the Select Board with a written report by September 15, 2021, stating the Task Force’s recommended priorities from 1-6, with 1 being the highest priority and 6 being the lowest, of the following aspects of the LDA and proposed development (listed below in alphabetical order) OR stating the Task Force’s recommendation as to the relative weight (from 1 – 3) the Select Board should give to each of the following:
  • Availability of Public Parking
  • Design of the project including building height, public spaces, sustainability features, commercial spaces
  • Length of the Ground Lease
  • Long-term Town oversight of management, maintenance, affordability, building ownership
  • Mix of Affordable and market rate housing units
  • Revenue to the Town

Letters of interest and resume can be mailed to Town Hall, 71 Mt. Vernon Street, Winchester, MA 01890 or submitted by email to pmihelich@winchester.us by July 21, 2021.

Background

The development of the Waterfield Lot in the Town Center has been the subject of discussion and planning for some time. It was considered in the development of new zoning guidelines of the Center Business District led by the Planning Board from 2011 to 2016. In 2016, Town Meeting approved the Center Business District rezoning. Concept plans were developed by the Planning Board’s consultant and by the Massachusetts Housing Partnership to test the capacity of the site for development and identify physical and legal constraints. The site was included in the Town’s Housing Production Plan which was developed in 2017-2018 and approved by the Commonwealth.

In Spring 2018, Town Meeting authorized the Select Board to move forward with development with a restriction that the site be used for affordable housing. In October 2019, the Town issued a Request for Qualifications (RFQ) seeking developers. Nine developers responded and eight were prequalified. In July 2020, the Town issued a Request for Proposals (RFP) and six teams responded. The proposals were reviewed by Town staff and consultants and five teams were interviewed at public meetings. Two Town Boards – the Planning Board and the Housing Partnership Board submitted recommendations to the Select Board. Both recommended the selection of the Civico proposal The Select Board considered these recommendations as well as other public comments and voted to select Civico.

In Fall 2020, Town Meeting authorized the Select Board to lease the Waterfield Lot for a term of 99 years to Civico. The Select Board negotiated a Memorandum of Agreement and then a Land Disposition Agreement (LDA) with Civico. In Spring 2021, Town Meeting approved the proposed LDA. A citizens’ petition was filed and a Special Election was held on June 22, 2021 to determine whether to proceed with the proposed LDA. The vote was 51% No and 49% YES.

The Select Board is seeking community input to help it set priorities as it enters into renegotiation of the LDA including the significant terms of the Ground Lease. The Board plans to complete negotiations and present a revised LDA for consideration at the Fall Town Meeting.

Membership

The Task Force shall be comprised of 5 members appointed by the Select Board.

The membership shall be as follows:

  • One representative each from Citizens for a Better Waterfield and Residents for Waterfield Facts;
  • One representative with a background/experience in multi-unit affordable residential real estate development or multi-unit residential real estate finance in general;
  • One representative of the downtown Winchester business community
  • One citizen at-large

The Select Board shall appoint the Task Force Chair or a meeting facilitator to assist the Task Force in completing its work. The Task Force will be supported by the Town Manager’s staff and the Winchester Housing Partnership Board.

Other Considerations

The Study Committee is responsible for conducting its activities in a manner which is in compliance with all relevant State and local laws and regulations, including but not limited to, the Open Meeting Law, Public Records Law and Conflict of Interest Law. All meetings will be conducted with remote participation available to Task Force members and the public.


This press release was produced by the Town of Winchester. The views expressed here are the author’s own.



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