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Ordinance to create Lynn affordable-housing trust

This article was published 1 year(s) and 3 month(s) ago.

LYNN — A new ordinance put forth by Mayor Jared Nicholson would establish an affordable housing trust for the “creation and preservation” of affordable housing in the city, that benefits low-to-moderate-income households, and for the funding of community housing, according to a statement from Nicholson’s office.

A public hearing on the ordinance was postponed Tuesday night due to a failure to advertise the event in the local newspaper, multiple sources from the City Council said. The hearing is now planned to be held June 28.

“There was a failure to file for the public notice in the local paper and therefore the hearing could not be held,” said Ward 1 Councilor Wayne Lozzi. 

The ordinance was proposed as part of Nicholson’s ongoing efforts to implement recommendations included in the city’s housing production plan. 

“This is a significant step toward achieving our ultimate goal of providing expanded housing opportunities,” Nicholson said in a statement. “It provides a vehicle for us to make important investments guided by community input about how to best help members of our community gain and retain access to housing that’s safe and affordable.”

The trust will provide the city with “another tool to address housing affordability,” the statement said. 

Lynn Housing & Neighborhood Development Executive Director Charles J. Gaeta said that the trust could be used to upgrade existing housing stock that could be accessible to current residents in neighborhoods throughout the city.

“[The trust] is a tool that is looked upon favorably by residents who were involved in the Housing Production Plan process,” Gaeta said in the statement. “We could go into neighborhoods that need improvements and create both rehabbed and new affordable units, which would allow people to stay in the neighborhoods where they live and their kids go to school.” 

The fund’s board of trustees will consist of seven members appointed by the mayor and serving without compensation. The mayor will be responsible for ensuring that the composition of board members reflects the geographic and racial/ethnic diversity that exists in the city.

“All board members should have some working interest in the city,” reads the proposal of the ordinance.

It further stipulates that the trust will be chaired by the mayor of their designee, while the seven members of the board of trustees should include one representative of the planning department appointed by the mayor.

The board should also include at least three Lynn residents with experience in the fields of real estate, housing, banking, finance, law, architecture, social services, or other fields pertinent to the goals of the trust, and at least two Lynn residential tenants. 

All members except for the mayor or their designee should be confirmed by the City Council and shall be appointed for two-year terms, reads the ordinance proposal. Re-appointments for the board of trustees are possible and shall proceed in the same manner as initial appointments. Trustees can be removed by the mayor.  

The board should appoint a vice chair, treasurer, and clerk, the document reads. The trustees shall keep a record of the trust doing and make a relevant report to the City Council at the end of the fiscal year with a description of the funds received and expended and the types of affordable housing programs or properties assisted with the funding.

The trustees will be responsible for accepting real property as well as for selling, leasing, and exchanging it. It will also execute, acknowledge, and deliver deeds and other documents necessary for any transaction, and perform other kinds of action with the real estate of interest to the trust for the benefit of the residents of Lynn. 

The Lynn Planning Department, the mayor’s office, Lynn Housing and Neighborhood Development Authority, and Lynn Economic Development and Industrial Corporation will provide administrative and technical expertise and support to the board.

Funding for the trust may be taken from “in lieu of” fees as part of an inclusionary zoning policy, according to Nicholson’s office. That has already occurred with Second Street Properties, which is planning a 218-unit mixed-use development at 811 Lynnway. In that case, the developer agreed to pay $3 million in lieu of including affordable units in the project.

Once the ordinance is adopted, it will be sent to the Massachusetts attorney general’s office for confirmation.

Oksana Kotkina can be reached at [email protected].

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