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Affordable Housing Letter from Inspector General Michael Sullivan to Mass Housing Re: Abuse & Excessive-Profits

Letter to Reading Officials re: Possible Loss of Affordable Unit & excessive Profit for Affordable Home -owner

More From Inspector general - Letter to CHAPA

More on Reading's Excessive Profits        

Info from the 40B reform Committee: Arlington

This is why forcing a land value "as is" appraisal is necessary. The 40B MassHousing "facilitator" for this project, Edith Netter, was also the author of the DHCD guidelines that are being presented to town ZBA's. This issue was brought to the ZBA's attention during this hearing and was totally ignored even though she recommended it in her guidelines.
The appraisal was not undertaken until Patricia Worden pursued the matter not only with MassHousing but also with our local Legislators and our Town Manager. This only further confirms that the Inspector General's audits of excessive 40B profits was necessary. By the way, MassHousing failed to respond to Patricia's initial letter to them regarding "as is" appraisal.
The question remains, why haven't DHCD and the supporting agencies been on top of this issue and other concerns as to 40B developers practices. Also why are our ZBA's blindly following the MassHousing facilitators acceptance of land values?
If you're involved in an active 40B ZBA hearing, make sure the IG's audits and this example is used to force an appraisal if there is even a hint of inflated values.
See the below correspondence



To:  Senator Havern, Reps. Brownsberger, Kaufman, Marzilli


From:  Patricia Worden


Re:  "As-is" appraisal requirement for Brattle street 40B site


It is of interest that the "as-is" appraisal* obtained by the Town for the Brattle Street 40B site market value is seven hundred and fifty thousand dollars ($750,000).  Since the value given in the appraisal submitted by the developer, Santini, was $1.745m it's clear that if Santini's faulty appraisal submission were used instead of the true "as-is" value in the calculation of profits then the Town could lose about one million dollars which could otherwise be used for our affordable housing needs.  Thanks again for your help and interest in this matter.


Santini's Brattle Street appraisal appears to have been based on its speculative residential use rather than on its permitted residential use and this is clearly demonstrated on the market by, for example, the fact that the amount paid by Armstrong Ambulance for its lot at Mystic street was about one third of the appraised value provided by Santini at Brattle Street on a square foot basis although both lots are industrially zoned. 


Just 2% of Arlington's land is zoned industrial.  To allow appraisals based on the assumption that this land can be used for residential use is antithetical both to the established policy of the Town (see Article 10 of the 2004 Annual Town Meeting which voted that industrial land should not be used for residential construction) and to the Commonwealth's "smart" growth  and sustainable development principles (it will result in the forcing of current and prospective industrial users to locate out of town, reduce job opportunities  forcing more employees to commute out of Town, and removing needed services such as automotive repair and maintenance-related - landscaping, carpentry, building trades-  forcing Alingtonians to drive to other cities or towns for these services and supplies thereby contributing to traffic congestion, greenhouse gases emissions etc.)  It is fortunate that the Town has now establ ished the true "as-is" value of the Brattle Street land and hopefully this will result in a proper contribution of excess profits to the Town's affordable housing needs.  We may even find an added benefit if there is a cessation of the kind of newspaper advertisement that has been happening in attempted sale of Arlington industrial property with the tag line "possible 40B."




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