(This story was first published in the Jan. 23, 2014 edition of the Standard.)
By Katy Savage, Standard Staff
After nine years of legal fees and drawing boards, Woodstock’s new affordable housing complex finally has a name and a construction timeframe.
The Westview Meadow Affordable Housing Development, formerly called Grange Hill, will comprise 14 new buildings on an eight-acre parcel in West Woodstock. Construction is slated to begin in the fall.
The name changed after the Twin Pines Housing Trust found that the name, “Grange,” was protected by a trademark from The National Grange of the Order of Patrons of Husbandry. Twin Pines and others would have had to pay a monthly fee to use the rights. So Patsy Highberg, president of the Woodstock Community Trust, volunteered the name “Westview Meadow.”
“It’s a meadow that it’s going to be built on and it’s in West Woodstock,” she said.
The project involves reconstructing the Grange Hall and building 10 one-bedroom, 18 two-bedroom and 8 three-bedroom dwelling units. It also involves the construction of 28 apartments and eight for-sale condominiums across from Woodstock Union High School.
“The teachers will be able to live here, it will mean that people who work at the (Woodstock Inn and Resort) will be able to live here, people who work in the retail stores will be able to live here,” Highberg said. “It’s wonderful and it’s so needed in this town.”
The Woodstock Community Trust, Twin Pines Housing Trust and Housing Vermont have been working on the project for almost a decade, fighting neighbors who were concerned that the project was too large and out of scale for West Woodstock.
The Supreme Court recently ruled in November that neighbor Jay Smith’s property had rights to spring water on the land in 1915, but the rights were extinguished in 1938, when there was a failure to mention spring water in a land transfer.
The court also denied neighbor David Roy’s request of an order limiting use of the land to a single-family residence because it found language in a land easement contained no restrictions on the volume and use. Since Roy had previously granted a right-of-way over part of his property for use as a driveway by the Baptist organization, he must have understood it was for the public to enter and exit the property, according to court documents.
The new buildings will have six different designs. All of them will have front porches facing the street.
“Westview Meadow will provide sorely needed affordable housing for families and seniors,” said Housing Vermont President Nancy Owens in a press release. “Our rents will be about one-third less than the market.”
It will be going out to bid in the next three or four months. Twin Pines Executive Director Andrew Winter said the construction will create 34 local jobs. He said it would take 12-15 months to build and expects there to be occupancy immediately after construction is complete.
Other related stories….
Vermont Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Grange Hill Project – November 2013
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