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Friday’s special town meeting to decide whether to transfer land to KAH

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KENT—Residents will decide Friday night, April 26, whether to approve a conditional agreement to transfer of 1.159 acres of town land to Kent Affordable Housing (KAH). The special town meeting will be held at 7 p.m. in Town Hall.

New affordable housing is being proposed behind this South Commons apartments building on land from the town of Kent. A town meeting Friday, April 26 at 7 p.m. will decide whether to give the 1.159 acre land parcel to Kent Affordable Housing. Photo by Lynn Mellis Worthington

Acquisition of the parcel would not occur until after all necessary approvals for construction are received. The land is located adjacent to KAH’s first development, South Common, which has 24 dwelling units.

KAH proposed a conditional agreement under which it would not take control of the land until after approvals are received. This limits the risk to both the Town of Kent and KAH and allows KAH to do additional feasibility studies and to receive community input.

If the land is ultimately transferred to KAH it will be at no charge, but the town will not be involved in the development. Funding will come from state, federal and other funding sources. 

KAH proposes development of at least 10 units of dedicated affordable housing. Ten units of housing is the lowest number that the Department of Housing will consider for funding.

The 2022-’27 housing plan identified the site as appropriate for dedicated affordable housing. Kent Affordable Housing hired Cardinal Engineering to assess the infrastructure of South Common and it found it more than adequate to handle additional units. Access to water and sewer is essential for multi-family housing and this site would make use of previous investments in infrastructure for South Common. 

There have been questions asked about the effect of the development on Kent Common Park, potential expansion of the transfer station and the impact on the Department of Public Works. KAH president Justin Potter has said the impact on adjacent areas should be minimal, with temporary access to the construction area via the transfer station or the Public Works area. Permanent access for residents will be via South Common.

Potter has reported that 64 households are on a waiting list for affordable housing, but data released in September 2023 showed 128 households that were severely cost burdened, paying 50 percent or more of their income on housing. Thirty percent is the recommended level to be dedicated to housing, including rents, mortgages, utilities, HOA fees and the like.

The current KAH housing is affordable to households that make 25 to 80 percent of the Area Median Income (AMI). That translates to $20,075 for an individual at 25 percent of the AMI, to $91,760 for a family of four at 80 percent.

KAH housing units are professionally managed by a third-party management company.

Those eligible to vote during the town meeting are registered electors or those who pay at least $1,000 in taxes to the town. Individual(s) serving as trustee of a trust that owns property in Kent, corporations and other legal entities are not allowed to vote.

For additional information, email info@kentaffordablehousing.org.

Kathryn Boughton
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