With the news that the first house under construction at a nine-lot subdivision in Waitsfield is progressing, plus the news that all of the small, affordable lots in that development are spoken for, there’s reason to feel hope that some incremental steps are being taken to address our significant lack of housing.
Mac and Bobbi Rood are the developers and they are committed to creating affordable housing options for our community. The lots are small and are selling for $82,000, the cost of the land plus water and wastewater. The first house is expected to come in at $200,000 to build.
At least three more houses will get under construction next spring.
To that good news, add more incremental steps towards bringing a municipal wastewater system to Waitsfield. The select board is working with engineers to develop phased-in plans that could see several larger scale treatment facilities, one at the Munn site north of Kingsbury Road and another north of town. Along the way work would be done to connect more people, Irasville, and the village to the town’s water system, freeing up good soils for more wastewater disposal.
There’s nothing fast about this process but the work needs to continue and right now there’s a lot of state funding available for wastewater infrastructure in Vermont. Current thinking has town voters being asked to approve a bond at Town Meeting in 2024 with work likely to occur in 2025.
That work is not as fast or immediately gratifying as seeing the first of eight homes for community members go up, but it is critical and must come to fruition.
The Waitsfield municipal water system is of significant benefit to the town and a wastewater system will also be a critical piece of infrastructure. Earlier efforts to pass a bond for wastewater failed when a small segment of the community – with extreme short-sightedness – used scare tactics to convince voters that a wastewater system would result in a Stowe-like community in our Valley.
That was hogwash then and it’s hogwash now. Water and wastewater are pieces of infrastructure. They do not dictate development. That’s what Town Plans and zoning ordinances do.