PUTNEY, Vt. – In a recent Putney Development Review Board meeting, the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust was granted a zoning permit to build a new, 25-unit affordable housing project near the Putney Farmers Market and Community Garden.
Nearly two years in the works, the projected $10.5 million building project, which will include twenty-five, one and two-bedroom apartments, has been met with resistance from some Putney residents. An appeal process has been set in motion and a petition has been signed by over 100 residents who are against the building project.
“We have received notification of an appeal from a neighbor [near the property], so we will need to resolve that before we can close on our financing and start construction,” Elizabeth Bridgewater said in a recent interview. Bridgewater is the Executive Director of the WWHT. “We are at the very beginning of this process, so I don’t have much information on the specific concerns of the appellant, and they have not submitted them to the court yet.”
In 2020, the Brattleboro-based WWHT partnered with the Putney-based Green Commons of Vermont, to propose the plan to purchase approximately four acres of land for WWHT to build affordable housing on the southern portion of the lot, while Green Commons would control the northern portion and allowing appropriate space for the already existing farmers market and community garden.
Green Commons of Vermont was created with the idea of acquiring and preserving “green spaces,” promoting local agriculture, preserving and providing local public areas for recreation, and to assist in efforts of making food accessible for all. The group is made up of Farmers Market and Community Gardens members.
When completed, the housing project will result in 25 new apartments located in two buildings, and will have a mix of one and two-bedroom units. There will also be offices onsite for WWHT staff and a “shared space” and kitchen for the residents.
“The property is located adjacent to the Putney Community Gardens and Farmer’s Market,” Bridgewater added. “We are excited by the potential for residents to have the opportunity to garden right outside their door and to have access to healthy local food at the Farmer’s Market. Additionally, with a rental vacancy rate at near 0% and rising home prices, this project will make a meaningful contribution towards addressing the housing crisis in Vermont.”