Noquochoke: Now all 50 Westport units 'affordable'


The Community Builders (TCB), the non-profit company chosen to build the Noquochoke Village affordable housing project, provided an update recently on its plans for the project off American Legion Highway (Route 177), about two-tenths of a mile from the intersection with Route 6 across from Montessori School of the Angels.

Douglas Brown, of the firm Dufee, Brown, Viveiros, Werenfels Architects, presented updated drawings of the project layout and 'country village' style buildings to the Westport Affordable Housing Trust. Some final revisions are possible.

He also described several changes, including a relocation of part of the project and a reduction in the number of buildings from nine to eight. The eight buildings will be grouped on a five-acre portion in the front section of the property, thus leaving untouched, Mr. Brown said, conservation land to the rear (south) of the development.

Seven of the buildings will house the 50 residential rental units. Of these, 15 will be one-bedroom, 30 will have two bedrooms and five will have three bedrooms.  Forty-one of the units will be multi-level townhouse-type apartments while nine will be flats designed for tenants who require handicapped access.

The eighth building, a community building, would contain rental and maintenance offices.

Another change is that now all units will be 'affordable,' an increase from the earlier plan in which about 80 percent would be affordable. Sixteen of the rental units will be funded by both Section 8 and Low Income Housing Tax Credits, while the rest will be funded by Low Income Housing Tax Credits alone. To qualify, renters would need to have household incomes that are 80 percent or less than Westport's median household income.

Although the rents will be lower than prevailing rental rates in the area, these will be nice places to live with attractive buildings surrounded by abundant conservation land, Mr. Brown said.

Each unit will have its own entrance and parking spaces for two cars. Another 15 parking spaces will be available to visitors, while four more spaces will be placed in the rear of the property for people who want to visit the conservation land.

Units will each offer a rear terrace and a private storage shed and there will be two green spaces, one of which will contain a children's play area.

Vice Chairwoman Liz Collins said last summer when Community Housing was selected that she believes that Westport residents will be pleased with the look of the development.

"TCB does excellent work, they are very highly regarded," she said.

Ms. Collins said the need for affordable housing in Westport is considerable. While the state requires that 10 percent of housing be affordable, "In Westport it was about 3.7 percent awhile ago and has been falling from there," she said.

The former farm property is bounded by woodlands to the west, the Noquochoke River to the south and east and Route 177 to the north. It is within an area that is primarily residential but also close to retail shopping.

A public hearing on the plans will likely be held later this fall.


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