A meeting was held jointly with the Contemporaneous Meeting of the Affordable Housing Task Force, which was open to the public, and was called to order by Chairman Nicholas Mitropoulos on Wednesday, May 26, 2004 at 6:31 PM in the Town Hall Annex, Arlington, MA. The Roll Call was taken and the following members of the Arlington Housing Authority were present:
Present: Nicholas Mitropoulos
Patricia Worden (Pro tempore)
Richard Murray (after 6:50 PM)
Absent: Freeland K. Abbott
The Chairman announced that the filing of the Notice with the Town Clerk has been complied with and directed a copy of this Notice be spread upon the records, a copy of which is as follows:
Notice is hereby given in accordance with Section 23, Chapter 39 of the Massachusetts General Laws, that a meeting of the Arlington Housing Authority will be held on Wednesday, May 26, 2004, at 6:30 PM in the Town Hall, Arlington, MA.
CERTIFICATE AS TO SERVICE OF NOTICE OF MEETING
I, Franklin W. Hurd, Jr., the duly appointed Secretary of the Arlington Housing Authority, do hereby certify that on May 21, 2004 was emailed and filed with the Town Clerk of the Town of Arlington a copy of Notice of Meeting, of which the foregoing is a true and correct copy.
Summary of Efforts
The AHA entered into discussion with various members of the AHTF which did not have a quorum until 6:50 PM when Charles Lyons, Chairman of the AHTF, arrived thereby enabling discussion of agenda business.
Although notice of this meeting was widely disseminated by the Housing Director – as a public meeting to develop an Affordable Housing Strategy for submission to the State – few of the invitees or members of the AHTF attended. In addition to the names mentioned above the only AHTF members present were: Nora Mann (until 7:00 PM), Nick Minton, and Neal Mongold. Non-members present were: Bob Murray, Elsie Fiore, David Levy and Marion King.
Needs and strategies to develop affordable housing goals in preparation for submission to the state for Executive Order 418 certification were discussed. Concern was expressed that this matter is now of considerable urgency and that this submission should already have been finalized by the Planning Department.
Robert Murray, presumably as Consultant to the Housing Director, presented his ideas which included areas which had been under discussion or implementation for some time by the AHA such as the need to be proactive in protecting the affordability of the Millbrook Apartments, possible additions to the existing housing at Menotomy Manor and Drake Village, the purchase of one-bedroom condominium units with subsequent subsidization to make them affordable. Dr. Worden observed that it would certainly be helpful to have contribution by the AHTF and/or the HCA in protecting the Millbrook Square affordable units. Previously when these were endangered, the AHA worked essentially alone to arouse interest in their protection and to obtain the help of officials such as Selectman John Hurd.
Work with the Archdiocese with respect to use of closed churches was discussed together with the importance of ongoing dialogue. Elsie Fiore suggested keeping St. Jerome's Church as a community center. The Rectory was thought to be ideal for housing. Mr. Lyons pointed to the sensitivity of the St. James' site because, among other things, of the existence of the school currently there. Mr. Mitropoulos indicated that St. Athanasius Church is interested in acquiring the St. James site if the church is closed.
Mr. Lyons described the interesting suggestion (which was enthusiastically endorsed) of working with the Cemetery Commission to try to purchase properties that become available on Mystic Street abutting the cemetery. These could be used short-term for housing and later sold to the Cemetery Commission for expansion.
It was suggested that vacant land should be inventoried.
Some bizarre ideas presented were not received well. For example, John Griffin objected to a proposed strategy of conversion of HCA two-family rentals to homeownership. Everyone agreed with him. Elsie Fiore, as one has worked with the area for many years, objected to development of the Mugar site. All present agreed with Dr. Worden that there should be no development of parkland which she described as an outrageous suggestion for a Town with much less open space that any of the surrounding communities with the possible exception of Somerville.
Mr. Robert Murray also suggested that housing could be created over storefronts in commercial areas.
Upon a motion by Dr. Worden and seconded by Mr. Griffin it was unanimously:
VOTED: Adjourn at 8:00 PM.
Patricia B. Worden
Clerk pro tempore