Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
SECTION 1. Notwithstanding chapter 121B andchapter 30B of the General Laws or any other general or special law to the contrary, the Lowell housing authority may transfer ownership of a certain parcel of land located in the city of Lowell to the Residents First Development Corporation, a designated non-profit corporation located in the city of Lowell. The parcel, more commonly known as the Julian D. Steele state-aided public housing development, shall be demolished and rebuilt as a mixed-income housing development with rental and homeownership opportunities to persons of very low, low, and moderate income. Outstanding state housing bond funds of which the proceeds were invested in the Julian D. Steele project need not be repaid at the time of the transfer of the project.
SECTION 2. The Lowell housing authority shall provide the department of housing and community development a development plan for the permanent affordability of an aggregate percentage of at least 45 per cent of the total units in the new mixed-income development to families with incomes falling at or below 80 per cent of the city of Lowell's area median income. Of this aggregate percentage, a minimum of 75 per cent of such units shall be reserved for households whose median income is not more than 50 per cent of the city of Lowell's area median income; provided, that the plan provide for the adequate relocation of all existing residents of the public housing development into appropriate alternative and decent, safe, and sanitary housing; provided further, that the plan demonstrate its financial viability for the development and its financial feasibility as evidenced by an analysis of the long-term cost to the commonwealth of the new development versus the projected long-term cost to the commonwealth of maintaining and preserving the existing development as a fully occupied and exclusively, low-income decent, safe, and sanitary public housing development; provided further, that the plan is approved and endorsed by the local governing body and the chief governing body of the locale; and provided further, that the department of housing and community development shall promulgate regulations necessary for the implementation of said development plan.
SECTION 3. Subject to the provisions of section 5 of chapter 257 of the acts of 1998, the department of housing and community development may provide funds necessary for the implementation of said development plan. The development plan shall call for the creation of 180 new units on the present Julian D. Steele site of which 81 units are to be available to persons of very low, low and moderate income with both rental and homeownership opportunities. The development plan shall also include the replication of 220 units throughout the city of Lowell for persons of very low, low and moderate income.
SECTION 4. The department of housing and community development shall establish a new annual fund of $600,000 to be utilized by the Lowell housing authority to provide rental assistance to persons of very low income within the city of Lowell. Said funds shall be utilized by the Lowell housing authority to make 157 of the 220 replicated housing units referred to in section 3 within the city of Lowell, available to households whose median income is not more than 50 per cent of the city of Lowell's area median income. The department of housing and community development shall certify that the 157 additional rental housing units are in fact available for households whose median income is not more than 50 per cent of the city of Lowell's area median income.
SECTION 4A. There is hereby established a special commission, for the purpose of making an investigation and study of the need for renovation and revitalization of state-assisted housing developments created pursuant to chapter 200 of the acts of 1948 and for the purpose of developing new program initiatives for chapter 200 state-assisted housing developments. The commission shall consist of two members of the senate, one of whom shall be the senate chairman of the joint committee on housing and urban development, two members of the house of representatives, one of whom shall be the house chairman of the joint committee on housing and urban development, the director of the department of housing and community development or her designee, and nine persons to be appointed by the governor, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Chapter of the National Association of Housing and Redevelopment Officials, one of whom shall be a representative of the Massachusetts Union of Public Housing Tenants, two of whom shall be executive directors of public housing authorities which own chapter 200 housing, two of whom shall be residents of chapter 200 state-assisted housing developments, one of whom shall be a representative of the Council of Large Public Housing Authorities, one of whom shall be a representative from Citizens' Housing and Planning Association, and one of whom shall be experienced in the development of affordable housing. The study shall include, but not be limited to: (a) the extent of modernization needs of said housing; (b) recommendations for funding mechanisms to modernize and revitalize chapter 200 state-assisted housing developments, including a review of the process and criteria by which state modernization funds are awarded; (c) the feasibility of establishing replacement reserve accounts at local housing authorities; (d) the feasibility of using private capital in the redevelopment of chapter 200 state-assisted housing developments; (e) the criteria for replacement housing in cases where there will be a reduction of units. The chairs of the joint committee on housing and urban development shall be the co-chairs of the special commission. The special commission may conduct public hearings throughout the commonwealth. The commission shall report to the general court the results of the investigation and study, and its recommendations if any, together with drafts of legislation necessary to carry such recommendations into effect, by filing them with the clerks of the senate and house of representatives who shall forward them to the joint committee on housing and urban development on or before October 31, 2000.
SECTION 5. This act shall take effect upon its passage.