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  • Acts
  • 2002
  • Chapter 97 AN ACT FURTHER REGULATING THE JULIAN D. STEELE PUBLIC HOUSING DEVELOPMENT IN THE CITY OF LOWELL.

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. Chapter 193 of the acts of 2000 is hereby amended by striking out sections 1 to 4A, inclusive, and inserting in place thereof the following 5 sections:-

Section 1. (a) As used in this act, the following words shall have the following meanings:-

"Department", the department of housing and community development.

"Low and moderate income", income between 50 and 80 per cent of the city of Lowell area median income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

"Very low income", income up to 50 per cent of the city of Lowell area median income as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development.

(b) Notwithstanding chapter 121B and chapter 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 nonprofit corporation which shall be tax exempt pursuant to section 501(c) of the Internal Revenue Code, with a principal place of business in the city of Lowell, upon such terms as the Lowell housing authority may deem reasonable. 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 households with very low incomes, households with low and moderate incomes and households with incomes between 80 per cent and 150 per cent of the area median income, based on household size, as determined by the United States Department of Housing and Urban Development, in accordance with a development plan approved by the department. 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. All homeownership units shall be subject to affordable housing restrictions approved by the department, pursuant to chapter 184 of the General Laws, or other deeded restrictions approved by the department.

Section 2. The Lowell housing authority shall prepare and present for approval by the department a development plan providing for rental or homeownership of at least 45 per cent of the total number of units in the new mixed income development by very low income households and by low and moderate income households. At least 75 per cent of the 45 per cent shall provide rental or homeownership to very low income households. The development plan shall provide for permanent affordability of the units by very low income households and by low and moderate income households in the percentages specified in this section. The plan shall provide for the adequate relocation of all existing residents of the public housing development into appropriate alternative, decent, safe and sanitary housing. The development plan shall contain a financial analysis showing that the 20 year cost to the commonwealth, including capital and operating expenses, of the new development shall not exceed the 20 year cost to the commonwealth, including capital and operating expenses, of maintaining and operating the existing development as a fully occupied, decent, safe and sanitary public housing development. The Lowell housing authority, the Lowell city council and the department shall approve the development plan and any future substantial plan changes. The department may promulgate regulations necessary or appropriate for the implementation of this act.

Section 3. Pursuant to item 3722-8891 of section 2 of chapter 494 of the acts of 1993, as amended by section 5 of chapter 257 of the acts of 1998, the department may provide a grant of $2,700,000 to the Lowell housing authority for costs of planning, engineering, necessary studies, design, development plan and construction of infrastructure, including environmental remediation, of the new mixed income development described in section 1, and the Lowell housing authority may grant all or part of such funds to the Residents First Development Corporation for such purposes. The development plan shall call for the creation of 180 new units on the present Julian D. Steele site, of which 81 units shall be available to persons of very low income and 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 income and low and moderate income.

Section 4. The department of housing and community development shall establish a new annual fund not to exceed $600,000, to be allocated from the Lowell housing authority's existing operating subsidy and to be used by the Lowell housing authority to provide rental assistance to persons of very low income within the city of Lowell. Funds shall be diverted to the annual fund from the operating subsidy only to the extent that the existing operating subsidy is no longer necessary pursuant to this act and the development plan. The Lowell housing authority shall use these funds to assist in making up to 157 of the 220 replicated housing units referred to in section 3 available to very low income households. As a part of the development plan, the Lowell housing authority shall provide a funding schedule for such rental assistance and shall propose a process for transferring operating subsidy funding now provided to the Lowell housing authority into funding for rental assistance as provided in this section.

Each replicated housing unit shall be a decent, safe and sanitary housing unit located in the city of Lowell. One hundred and fifty-seven replicated housing units shall be affordable to households of very low incomes, and 63 other replicated housing units shall be affordable to households of low and moderate incomes. Replicated housing units shall be subject to requirements of affordability, enforceable by the housing authority, the city and the department, as specified in the development plan. The department shall certify that the 157 additional rental housing units of the 220 units referred to in section 3 are in fact available for very low income households.

Section 4A. There shall be a special commission to make a comprehensive study of state assisted family public housing in the commonwealth. The commission shall consist of 5 members of the house of representatives, 1 of whom shall be a member of the minority party and 1 of whom shall be designated co-chair, 5 members of the senate, 1 of whom shall be a member of the minority party and 1 of whom shall be designated co-chair, the director of the department or his designee, and 3 housing advocates appointed by the governor. The commission's study shall include, but not be limited to, income targeting and deconcentrating public housing, allowing higher income targeting for public housing units, using concepts in the HOPE VI Public Housing Revitalization Program, which provides funding for the demolition and redevelopment of older and deteriorated public housing and develops units that are frequently targeted to moderate income rather than low income households. The commission shall file its report, including a timeline for implementation and cost estimates and finance mechanisms to effect its recommendations, with the clerks of the senate and the house of representatives, not later than December 31, 2002.

SECTION 2. This act shall take effect upon its passage.

Approved April 17, 2002.