By Councilor Jim Duncan
I serve as the City Council Liaison to the Housing Commission, which is charged with helping Council and staff "ensure a mix of quality housing that maintains and enhances Winooski’s unique sense of place and supports the needs of the entire community".
The Housing Commission met on July 26th, with the primary task of setting the work plan for the year based on the City Council’s approved priorities. The City Council priorities for the year ahead can be found here, and for housing, they focus on the Housing Trust Fund, housing quality, and, if resources become available, renter protections. The Housing Commission reviewed a proposed work plan that would address a subset of these priorities, focusing on:
- Implementing the Housing Trust Fund, including application review, monitoring, and evaluating new funding sources;
- Monitoring the mix and affordability of new units being built in the city;
- Supporting other commissions and City staff in evaluating housing quality as well as ways that zoning can adjust to provide more affordable and multi-bedroom housing development.
The Commission had a lengthy discussion about the need to consider all zoning districts in the City when looking at the barriers to affordable and multi-bedroom housing construction, not just the gateway districts along Main, East Allen, and Malletts Bay. As a result, the Commission expanded one of its work plan items to consider opportunities for zoning in all areas of the City. The final work plan will be approved at the next meeting, and a more detailed summary will be provided then.
The Housing Commission meets on the 4th Monday each month and meetings are open to the public – please join us to share your views and ideas on housing in the City! The next meeting will take place on August 23rd at 6 PM. To learn more about the Housing Commission and how to get involved, please visit https://www.winooskivt.gov/housing.
Please get in touch if you have any input or questions on the work of the Commission.
Jim Duncan, email@example.com.