Windsor board to consider workforce housing proposal


Valley News Staff Writer

Published: 04-14-2023 2:41 PM

WINDSOR — The town’s Development Review Board will consider a revised proposal for a workforce housing apartment building in downtown Windsor during a public hearing at 7 p.m. Tuesday.

The project, developed by the Windham & Windsor Housing Trust and Evernorth, nonprofit organizations that build workforce and affordable housing, would create 25 new apartments in a four-story building on an acre of land between Main and Central streets, next to the Windsor Diner. The land is owned by the Windsor Improvement Corp., also known as WIC. On Tuesday, the group is presenting a revised applicantion to officially ask the board for subdivision and design plan approval.

“It should be very clear at the end of the meeting what the prospects of the project are going forward,” Windsor Town Manager Tom Marsh said.

The developers have already modified their plan, first proposed in 2021, by cutting off a fifth floor, and five apartments, after feedback from the public, the Development Review Board, town officials and the state Division of Historic Preservation. The applicants also removed round windows and expanded the brick facade that will face Main Street, Marsh said.

“I think this new iteration took into account a lot of the concerns they heard from the public and really improved the aesthetic,” he said. “I think it’s a project that really does fit in much better with the streetscape in Windsor.”

The proposal calls for a mix of studio and one- and two-bedroom apartments. There will be a community room, a laundry room and bike storage for residents. People can walk into the building from Main Street. Cars can get there by turning down Central Street and then onto Etta Fraser Drive, which plans call to change from a gravel road to a paved road. All parking will be onsite and the units will be hooked up to town water and sewer.

“If you wanted to, you could walk down Main Street and walk to the front of the building and get in,” Marsh said. “If someone wanted to have breakfast at the diner, they could walk out the building’s front door and walk into the diner without having to go around onto Central Street and back up.”

Rents for the units will likely range from $700 to $1,200 a month, said Peter Paggi, director of housing development, for the Brattleboro, Vt.-based Windham & Windsor Housing Trust. Income eligibility will be from around $15,000 to $79,000 for a family of three.

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“Folks with rental vouchers will also be able to apply,” Paggi wrote in an email. “Specific timelines for construction and leasing will be determined later this year.”

According to a description on the project’s website, “this is mixed-income housing, meaning the income qualifications meet a range of Windsor incomes. Think cashier, families, child care workers, hospital staff, school support staff, young professionals, social services, retired folks, persons with disabilities and more.”

Five units will be reserved for people “at risk of homelessness or exiting homelessness,” according to the description. Those tenants will be assisted by the Springfield Supported Housing Partnership.

Last September, the Selectboard unanimously approved the project group’s application for a $550,000 federal Community Development Block Grant, which they did not end up needing once the project’s scale was adjusted from 30 to 25 apartments, Paggi said. The town has also earmarked $200,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funding for the apartment building.

Funding also comes from a $500,000 loan from the Upper Valley Loan Fund and $3 million from the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board. The total project cost is around $12.6 million, Paggi said.

Marsh stressed that Windsor residents will not see an increase on their tax bills as a result of the project. Although the owners are nonprofit groups, they intend to pay property taxes.

“Once completed, it will be contributing tax and utility revenue to the town,” Marsh said. “They pay the same property taxes as if it was fully private.”

Tuesday’s hearing is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Selectboard Meeting Room at Town Hall. It can also be streamed on Zoom via Development Review Board members — and the public — will have the opportunity to ask the developers questions. Marsh said that after the meeting, the board will likely deliberate and produce a written decision within the next 30 days.

Liz Sauchelli can be reached at or 603-727-3221.