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Construction set to begin on Wheeler Brook affordable housing

07/03/2008

By Kara Herlihy

Construction will soon be underway on Warren's first affordable housing complex, Wheeler Brook, located on the former Blue Tooth parcel on the Sugarbush Access Road.

Construction on Wheeler Brook is slated to begin within the next few weeks.

A former night club and après-ski landmark, the Blue Tooth was deconstructed by ReCycle North of Burlington last month. Materials salvaged from the Blue Tooth including truckloads of lumber, dimensional and sheet goods were salvaged for reuse and sale in ReCycle North's building material center.

DECORATIVE ROCKS

Additional building materials including 250 pounds of nails, a roof's worth of four-foot six-inch beams, doors, some of the windows and doors, and a pallet of decorative rocks were collected for resale as well, according to Tom Grocki, the director of the building materials center at ReCycle North.

Grocki also said that a local Warren builder purchased $1,100 worth of Douglas fir beams that were salvaged from the Blue Tooth.

Other building site materials including bar tables, stools, and chairs, and "an enormous amount of lumber" will be up for sale at ReCycle North's new "Waste Not Want Not" wood shop, opening on July 23 in Burlington, according to Grocki.

MARKET RATES

The affordable housing complex that is set to take the Blue Tooth's place will consist of 18 units that will sit on a roughly nine-acre property. Plans also call for 16 of the units to be rented at rates affordable to residents making no more than 60 percent of the median income for the county. Two units will be rented at market rates.

The complex will have three buildings surrounding one common green space. Bill Maclay of William Maclay Architects and planners said the goal is use trees and vegetation to shield the development from the access road and restore a more "rural" feel to the location. Front entrances to the units face a winding driveway away from the access road.

In May, the Warren Select Board approved a proposal to open cut the Sugarbush Access Road to connect the project to a hydrant.

SEVERAL CONDITIONS

Senior Project Developer Kathy Beyer of Housing Vermont was present at the May 13 meeting of the Warren Select Board to discuss whether they should bore under the road to connect to the water line, or open cut the road for access.

The proposal was approved under several conditions including keeping the roads open at all times, maintain a supervising engineer on site, and investigating putting utilities for the complex into the same trench.

In April, Housing Vermont and the Central Vermont Community Land Trust received $475,000 in funding for the project through the Vermont Community Development Program. The town of Warren was a co-applicant for the funding.

Officials have said that rent at Wheeler Brook will not be subsidized. A combination of federal tax credits, low-interest loans, and other funding sources allow the organizations to keep development costs low and rent units at less than market rates.

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