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Williamstown 'Roof Group' Endorses Spruces Acquisition

By Stephen Dravis
Williamstown Correspondent
04:00PM / Tuesday, December 03, 2013
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The Spruces Roof Group does not plan to meet again unless its services are required.
WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — The Spruces Roof Group voted unanimously Monday evening to recommend passage of three articles on the warrant for a Tuesday, Dec. 10, special town meeting.
 
The committee briefly considered and then endorsed the articles, which deal with the town's operation and acquisition of the Spruces Mobile Home Park, which the town will then close and dismantle under the terms of a federal Hazard Mitigation Grant.
 
The warrant for the town's latest special town meeting were approved last week by the Selectmen.
 
The Spruces Roof Group is a "super committee" made up of the chairs or former chairs of several town boards. It was formed this spring after a contentious special town meeting over the use of conserved land in an effort to open the lines of communication in town government.
 
The group, sanctioned by the Selectmen and lead by its chairwoman, originally was called the Long-Term Coordinating Committee. It evolved into the Spruces Roof Group as it sharpened its focus on finding replacement housing for the soon-to-be-displaced residents of the park.
 
In other business on Monday evening, Catherine Yamamoto, the chairman of the town's Affordable Housing Committee and a member of the board of the non-profit Higher Ground, told the committee the non-profit and its partners plan a public listening session for Wednesday, Dec. 11, to discuss details of the housing project planned for a parcel of land being donated by Williams College.
 
Some 40 units of affordable senior housing, including for those being displaced at the Spruces, will be built on the property. The town has pledged $2.6 million toward the project, to be taken from the Federal Emergency Management agency hazard grant (pending approval of the Spruces' acquisition at next week's special town meeting).
 
Yamamoto told the group that wetlands delineation work has been completed at the site at the end of Southworth Street near the Proprietor's Field senior housing project. The just less than 4-acre property has about two acres of buildable land, Yamamoto told the committee.
 
The Roof Group, which has no current issues before it, decided not to disband, but does not have any plans to meet again. At Chairwoman Jane Allen's suggestion, the panel decided to remain intact and available to coordinate efforts with housing developers if the committee's services are needed at a later date.

Tags: affordable housing,   FEMA,   senior housing,   Spruces,   

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