AMHERST, Mass. (WWLP) – MassHousing is looking for the public’s help by submitting comments about the planned construction of affordable homes on Ball Lane in Amherst.

The non-profit organization, Valley Community Development Corporation in Northampton has applied to MassHousing for funding assistance. During the application’s project eligibility phase, MassHousing’s review involves an evaluation of the site, the design concept, the financial feasibility of the proposal, and the appropriateness of the proposal in relation to local housing needs and strategies.

The proposal is to develop 30 affordable homeownership units on 20-40 Ball Lane, approximately 8 acres located at the corner of Pulpit Hill Road and Montague Road. View documents submitted for the Project Eligibility Phase on the Town’s website.

If you would like to submit a comment about the project site, input on the design, and past Town actions regarding affordable housing, visit the Town of Amherst’s website or call Senior Planner Nathaniel Malloy at 413-259-3322 by May 1st, 12 p.m.

Determination of Project Eligibility

The following are Massachusetts regulations criteria that are reviewed by MassHousing and are also the same as what the public can use to make comments:

(a) that the proposed Project appears generally eligible under the requirements of the housing subsidy program, subject to final approval under 760 CMR 56.04(7);

(b) that the site of the proposed Project is generally appropriate for residential development, taking into consideration information provided by the municipality or other parties regarding municipal actions previously taken to meet affordable housing needs, such as inclusionary zoning, multifamily districts adopted under M.G.L. c. 40A, and overlay districts adopted under M.G.L. c. 40R (such finding, with supporting reasoning, to be set forth in reasonable detail);

(c) that the conceptual project design is generally appropriate for the site on which it is located, taking into consideration factors that may include proposed use, conceptual site plan and building massing, topography, environmental resources, and integration into existing development patterns (such finding, with supporting reasoning, to be set forth in reasonable detail);

(d) that the proposed Project appears financially feasible within the housing market in which it will be situated (based on comparable rentals or sales figures);

(e) that an initial pro forma has been reviewed, including a land valuation determination consistent with the Department’s guidelines, and the Project appears financially feasible and consistent with the Department’s guidelines for Cost Examination and Limitations on Profits and Distributions (if applicable) on the basis of estimated development costs;

(f) that the Applicant is a public agency, a non-profit organization, or a Limited Dividend Organization, and it meets the general eligibility standards of the housing program; and

(g) that the Applicant controls the site, based on evidence that the Applicant or a related entity owns the site, or holds an option or contract to acquire such interest in the site, or has such other interest in the site as is deemed by the Subsidizing Agency to be sufficient to control the site.