Trust Our Work Ongoing: MRV Accessory Dwelling Unit Program
MRV Housing Coalition launched the Mad River Valley Accessory Dwelling Unit Program (ADUP) in 2020 to support the construction of affordable rental units. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs, or more commonly known as in-law apartments) are separate, contained living units that are within, attached to, or detached from single family homes and have their own bathroom, cooking and living space. To incentivize and support homeowners interested in building an ADU, the Housing Coalition is offering construction grants up to $10,000 and free professional assistance throughout the permitting, design and development process. In exchange, homeowners commit to renting the apartment year-round at an affordable rate for five years. Learn more about ADUP here!
ADUs may be small, but they provide a big solution for homeowners and renters alike! Additional information about ADUs can be found in the Resources section below. Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs)
Ongoing: Municipal Support Town Bylaws & Regulations
All three MRV Planning Commissions and Select Boards have recognized the extent of the affordable housing shortage in the Valley. Over the past 3 years, each town has started to review their bylaws with the intention of creating more opportunity for affordable housing (among other things). MRVHC has received support from and have collaborated with each town between 2020-2021 to ensure that town plan and bylaw updates are most effectively geared toward fulfilling these intentions.
Ongoing: Land Banking MRVHC has had several residents interested in donating land or selling it at a low cost if it goes to affordable housing. We are currently reviewing the process and possibility of starting to retain (and donate) this land as it becomes available and as affordable housing projects pop up. We are at the very beginning of this process.
2022: Short Term Rentals Short Term Rental (such as AirBnB) monitoring and regulation have recently been taken up by the Vermont Legislature. Locally, the MRV Planning District is undertaking a process of developing a greater understanding of the MRV’s primary concerns and goals in regards to Short Term Rentals in 2022. This process will consist of a public engagement process for the three towns, consisting of a community survey, analysis and synthesis of results, and reporting back the findings. The insight gained from this process would be key to providing direction and serving as the basis for clarifying what needs further exploration (and likely data). Subsequent steps might include an STR committee to further clarify community concerns populated by key stakeholders, including representation from each town, zoning administrators, the MRV Chamber of Commerce and lodging community, the MRV Housing Coalition, and STR owners.
2021: Housing Fund Establishing a Housing Fund has created the opportunity to assist those developing affordable housing and/or those at a low to middle income level looking for help renting or buying a home to overcome financial impediments. Vermont Housing Trust Fund Examples:
2020: At Home In The Valley: Affordable Housing Speaker Series MRV Housing Coalition hosted At Home In The Valley, a five-part discussion series on affordable housing in October 2020. Presentations included:
2012: Valley Affordable Land Initiative (VALI) In order to help satisfy the need for affordable workforce housing in the Mad River Valley, the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition (MRVHC) established the Valley Affordable Land Initiative (VALI) in 2012. The MRVHC’s focus was to acquire parcels of land for free, or well below market rates, to be resold to qualified individuals or affordable housing developers with perpetual affordability mechanisms in place. The property owners were responsible for building the home with technical assistance from MRVHC. Parcels were sold at the lowest prices possible that allowed MRVHC to recover its expenses. The intent of the Initiative is to help facilitate affordable home ownership for first time homeowners who live or work in the Mad River Valley by greatly minimizing the cost of buying land.
German Flats Road Housing Project In 2012 Sugarbush Resort donated the first VALI parcel of land – a 1.5 acre parcel in Fayston (value of $61,000). MRVHC subdivided and secured septic approval for a three-bedroom house. MRVHC created an application process, and selected one family based on the following guidelines:
First time homeowners, except people who lost their homes as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.
Applicants should already live or work in the Mad River Valley.
Applicants’ household income should be no more than 100% of the county median income, and preferably no more than 80% of the county median income*
Applicants can demonstrate they have the means to pay for closing costs, house construction costs and monthly carrying / operating costs.
The family purchased the home for $6,000, the amount required for MRVHC to recoup costs for subdivision, permitting, and septic updates. With the help of the Central Vermont Vocational Technical Center, the family completed construction of the home in 2013, which includes a covenant to remain perpetually affordable. Read an article published in the Rutland Herald about the effort here.
Land Donation Framework There are many potential benefits to a donor for donating land for affordable, workforce housing. Beyond providing resources to meet a vital need in one’s community, donating land eliminates the expense responsibility of managing the land, and can provide substantial federal and state income tax deductions, property tax savings, and estate tax benefits from removing the property from the donor’s estate. Capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property can be avoided which could be significant for highly appreciated property.
There are large land parcels in the Valley from which one or two small parcels on the perimeter could be subdivided without negatively impacting the use and enjoyment of the larger parcel by its owner or interfere with future development opportunities. Larger parcels could be a fit for multifamily dwellings and any excess land can be transferred to a conservation organization or sold to help fund MRVHC operating and transaction costs, meeting multiple community goals. Methods of donation:
Donating a Remainder Interest in land (In this arrangement, the owner donates the property during their lifetime, but continues to live on and use the property until they pass and full ownership will then transfer).