Charge of the Concord Housing Development Corporation
Amended: July 17, 2017
Purpose and Background
The Concord Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) is a non-profit housing corporation established by special legislation (Chapter 275 of the Acts of 2006, “An Act Establishing the Concord Housing Development Corporation”). The CHDC will be governed by a Board of Directors to be appointed by the Concord Select Board. The Select Board may set policies and guidelines under which the CHDC board operates, but day-to-day operation of the corporation is independent of the Select Board and the Concord Town Manager. The intent, however, is that there be a real partnership between the Select Board and the Board of the CHDC in furthering the affordable housing interests in Concord.
Notwithstanding the Select Board’s acknowledgement that CHDC is a private entity, the Board has requested and the CHDC has agreed to conduct business in a manner consistent with the Open Meeting laws (MGL Ch. 30A) and Public Records laws (MGL Ch. 66) in the interest of enhancing public interest in CHDC’s activities and improving public access to information concerning affordable housing in Concord.
As background, on January 9, 1989, the Concord Select Board created a permanent Affordable Housing Committee (AHC) to facilitate the process of affordable housing projects and to create methods for increasing the availability of housing for people with low to middle income on behalf of the town. As this charge for the CHDC creates considerable overlap with the charge and intent of the AHC, the latter committee has been dissolved.
The Concord Housing Development Corporation (CHDC) is established by its enabling legislation with broad powers and duties to investigate and implement alternatives for the provision of affordable housing for persons of low, moderate, and middle income and others whose needs may be identified from time to time in the town. To that end, and to further Town goals, the CHDC is to work closely with all town boards, committees, and departments as well as the Concord Housing Authority (CHA), the Concord Housing Foundation (CHF) and the Concord Housing Trust (CHT). The CHDC may, over time, be able to take on larger development and fundraising activities that cannot be undertaken by the town’s existing volunteer housing organizations. By its enabling legislation, the powers and duties of the CHDC are to be alternative and supplemental to and not in limitation of the powers and duties of the CHA.
The CHDC will be governed by a board of directors consisting of not less than five (5) members who live in Concord and are to be appointed for staggered 3-year terms (as well as to be removed with or without cause) by the Select Board. It is desirable to have representation on the CHDC board from the following areas: land planning, design & construction, real estate law, government housing, real estate development and brokerage, and housing financing. In addition, a member of the Select Board, the Planning Board, and Directors of the CHA, CHF, and CHT may serve as liaisons to the CHDC. It is expected that an assigned member of the Town Planning Department will attend CHDC meetings as needed.
The board of the CHDC may create from time to time advisory board(s) or sub-committees comprised of various housing constituencies as well as citizens who possess specific backgrounds and experiences that are helpful to the work of the CHDC. These may include bankers, architects, builders, planners, individuals familiar with the state and regional government, and advocates for and others having skills relevant to affordable housing.
General Responsibilities related to Concord’s Housing Goals
The CHDC is to coordinate and eventually play a principal role in the Town’s pursuit of Concord’s housing goals, including:
- To maintain and increase a diversity of housing types and sizes to meet the needs of the Town and its traditionally diverse population.
- To increase the supply of affordable housing and preserve existing affordable dwellings.
- To enable people in changed circumstances to continue to live in Concord.
- To increase the options that would allow older residents to remain in their homes.
- To enable Town and School employees, children of Concord residents, and farm workers to live in Concord.
- To enable those of modest to medium income to live in Concord.
- To research and recommend to the Select Board policies and by-laws that promote the creation and retention of housing diversity, including affordable housing, throughout the town.
Guidelines for Responsibilities and Functions
In superseding the Affordable Housing Committee, the CHDC will thus be responsible for being the primary organization working with the Town Planning Department and the Planning Board relative to housing planning activities and policies.
The CHDC will be responsible for setting its priorities and goals in order that it:
- Be successful in accomplishing a limited number of short-term goals within its long-term broad powers and purposes, e.g., by underwriting options on parcels of land and funding feasibility studies for development on those parcels.
- In this way develop an impressive track record by which it develops into an effective and respected vehicle for the Town to achieve its housing goals.
- Provide oversight of existing affordable housing for compliance with the terms of sales or rentals (e.g. develop a solution for preserving the affordability of the Town’s remaining affordable units in the Emerson Annex) and oversee compliance of Chapter 40B developments with their intended affordable units.
- Cooperate with and support other existing housing groups in Concord so as to complement their activities and programs; place emphasis on taking on tasks not presently being done by those groups; the CHDC may well prove to be the better organization for addressing tasks now being done by those other groups.
- Coordinate the annual prioritization and unified presentation by all housing groups of the needs for CPA funds and grants.
- Support and co-sponsor the resulting application of other housing groups for CPA funds and hold, as appropriate, such earmarked funds on their behalf.
- Seek the counsel of the Select Board, the Planning Board, and other housing groups on the usage of CPA funds.
- Work in conjunction with an assigned staff member of the Planning Department.
- Report annually on the progress within the town (and of the CHDC specifically) with regards to promoting housing diversity and affordability.
- Annually seek, in the initial years, needed new authorities or Planning Department support from the Select Board and be subject to renewed guidelines from the Select Board.
- Understand and seek to apply the “best practices” used by similar public town housing corporations.
On August 22, 2006, the Massachusetts Senate and House of Representatives in General Court enacted and approved an “Act Establishing the Concord Housing Development Corporation”. This enabling legislation confers certain powers to the CHDC. The following is a partial list of the powers and functions afforded the Concord Housing Development Corp. by Chapter 275 of the Acts of 2006. This charge does not limit or amend Chapter 275 of the Acts of 2006.
- Make recommendations on approaches for the preservation and expansion of affordable housing that might include making existing homes available to qualified families, subsidies to assist present home owners, and zoning and bylaw changes.
- Increase the number of housing options by identifying possible private, Town-sponsored, or other public opportunities for affordable housing, and by assisting in the creation of these homes with support of initial planning and project formulation, project approvals process, project development and completion, and collaboration with standing or special Town committees.
- As housing planners, help define what kind of data on affordable housing is useful and what kind of housing, housing inventory, demographic, and financial data the Planning Department should gather and make available to the public. Assist the Planning Department to maintain a record of the Town’s efforts to comply with affordable housing statutes.
- Report annually, consistent with the budgeting cycle, to the Select Board regarding the state of affordability in Concord, identification of existing and potential opportunities, resources, and housing approaches, barriers to affordable housing, and promotion of appropriate Federal, state and local programs and regulatory changes.
- Review Town Meeting articles and present comments and recommendations on those that affect affordable housing.
- Respond to partnership proposals from private developers and formulate proposals on behalf of the Town.
- Acquire or lease real and personal property necessary to carry out its purpose, it being understood that the acquisition or sale of town-owned real estate shall be subject to authorization by Town Meeting.
- Enter into agreements or other transactions with the Commonwealth, and other federal, state or governmental agencies.
- Borrow money and execute notes (not considered to be debts of the town), hold mortgages, or invest any funds not required for immediate disbursement in any investments.
- Contract with and employ from time to time contractors, architects, engineers, consultants, attorneys, accountants, or experts in construction or finance that may be necessary as well as to fix their compensation.
- Receive and hold funds and other things of value from the Town or from other sources, use these amounts on behalf of its affordable housing programs or act as an agent in administering these funds.
- Appear on its own behalf before boards, commissions, departments or other agencies of government, municipal, state or federal.
- Procure insurance against any loss connected with property or activities of the board.
- Formulate, carry out or monitor plans for projects involving acquisition or operation of housing facilities including construction, renovation, improvement or management of these facilities.
- Collect rent and sales prices for the use or occupancy of any property under its ownership or control as well as establish any restrictions in respect to income of the occupants of these housing facilities.
- Enter into agreements with contractors, developers, brokers and other real estate professionals relating to the providing of affordable housing in Concord.
Because it is likely that Concord Housing Development Corporation will be entrusted with public funds, including grant funds and appropriated funds, it is important that the members of the Board of Directors conform to the highest standards of ethical conduct, avoiding the acceptance of personal gifts from individuals doing business with the CHDC and otherwise avoiding the appearance of a conflict of interest. The CHDC Board shall comply with the applicable provisions of the state ethics laws (MGL Ch. 268A).