Orleans Town Meeting supports affordable housing

Orleans voters on Saturday supported several town hall meeting articles to make more low-income or labor-intensive housing available in their city.

By a vote of 246 to 34, voters approved $ 2,925,000 to purchase the Governor Prence Inn on Route 6A,

Orléans will not rent space, except perhaps for affordable housing.

Orleans Select board member Meff Runyon highlighted the multiple municipal uses that would be considered (including a fire station, library or community center) for the twin 5.5-acre plots. But most of the previous discussion and support at the town meeting has been about affordable housing or for the workforce, at least shared use of the hostel.

Orleans also approved spending $ 2 million to place 52 permanent affordable housing restrictions on rental units at the former Cape Cod Five on West Road headquarters, a conversion of $ 28 million for a total 62 affordable housing units that would be available to anyone earning 80% or less of the region’s median income.

The city came forward with $ 160,000 to continue securing permits and design for the proposed dredging of the Nauset Estuary and $ 658,000 to design a sewage collection system for East Orleans in the vicinity of the pond. Meeting House.

Voters also voted in favor of two points they rejected last year; $ 35,000 for a feasibility study for a community center and $ 15,000 to allow eligible seniors to pay part of their property tax bills by volunteering for the city.

Despite the 90-degree weather forecast off Cape Town, the people of Orleans woke up to clouds, rain, and cool, windy weather. Conditions may have reduced the attendance rate for the outdoor meeting. When an electronic vote clicker test was conducted prior to the meeting, 217 were registered, just 17 above the required quorum. This kept officials on edge as they watched people get up to leave the socially distant outside meeting inside the track at Nauset Regional Middle School.

Fortunately, despite a quorum call, just enough people stayed. When the vote was taken on Article 64, the penultimate, citizen’s petition asking the Nauset Regional School Committee to reduce the school choice program and renegotiate the district schooling agreement with Truro and Provincetown, it was rejected 152-49 – a vote above the quorum.

Voters have approved a $ 2,475,000 loan for the Governor Prence Inn which will need to be approved in Tuesday’s ballot as it is a proposed 2½ exemption. Orléans will also spend $ 25,000 on insurance and maintenance. The Orleans Affordable Housing Trust will provide an additional $ 450,000.

“This article does not commit to any specific use of the property,” Runyon said. “It’s a matter of control and gives Orléans the ability to shape the future of downtown. What we are really buying is time to build municipal consensus. This is too important an opportunity to pass up. “

There were concerns; a voter worries about the cost because the city is piling up expensive projects.

“We both work paid jobs to keep our house,” he said of himself and his wife. “In light of this, I wonder if Governor Prence is an appropriate use of the city’s money? I don’t agree that we have to buy it to control the density. With all the regulators, I think there are a lot of controls. “

“People of all ages have worked here their entire lives and are looking for a place to live,” said Kristin Knowles. “Affordable housing is a necessity right now. I find the mixed-use talk sorry, but we already have enough merchants in town and empty storefronts. So why worry about mixed use? Affordable housing must be our top priority now.

“The most critical issue in town is affordable housing because the kids can’t afford to live here,” agreed Mark Mathison, Select board member. “We’re spending $ 60 million on a sewer (downtown) to support density and keep the water clean.”

The Cape Cod Five project will add affordable housing to the city’s $ 2 million.

“That’s $ 100,000 a year (in interest and principal) and we have enough leeway to pay for that,” said Walter North, chair of the community preservation committee. He pointed out that the median price of an Orleans home is now $ 1,000,091.

Lynn Bruneau of the Finance Committee noted that the housing had a regional appeal and Provincetown voted $ 20,000 for the project and Eastham will vote on a $ 100,000 contribution at its town hall meeting. Since the annual payments on the bond will be made from CPC funds, the proposal will not affect the tax rate.

The proposal obtained the required two-thirds majority.

The dredging proposal has raised concerns as Eastham Select board members have expressed opposition or concern about the work. Steve Gass wondered if the city wasn’t wasting $ 160,000 on work that would never get done.

“The cities of Eastham and Orleans recently had a productive meeting regarding continued participation,” said Chairman of the Board Kevin Galligan. “We agreed to hear their concerns and integrate them.”

The two cities signed a memorandum of understanding last week.

Andy Barnard objected to the dumping of the dredged material.

“There are controversial elements in the proposal,” he said, “a proposal to dig seven acres in the dunes of the National Seashore and use a pipeline to transfer the dredged material into those seven acres. They have to go because they contain red tide cysts. The people who live in the area are very unhappy with this prospect and are organizing themselves and hiring a lawyer.

Galligan said the permitting process would give concerns a chance to be voiced and alternatives considered.

The dredging permit was changed from 216 to 56.

Voters postponed a proposal to accept the gift of a city flag design and rejected a zoning amendment that could have banned some home-based businesses such as dressmakers.


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