Hudson Community Development and Planning Agency (HCDPA) held a special meeting yesterday, the principal purpose of which was to authorize a contract with BFJ Planning to serve as consultants for the Housing Trust Fund. Before the vote was taken to authorize the contract, Mayor Kamal Johnson called it a "very important contract," explaining that BFJ "offered services to the City that Michelle [Housing Justice Director] cannot provide." Although Johnson spoke of seven tasks, only four appear to be defined in the contract. They are:
Task 1 BFJ will assist the Housing Justice Director in analyzing the financial feasibility of an inclusionary zoning or set-aside policy by looking at the baseline feasibility of multifamily development under the Section 325-28.2G Affordable Housing Bonus [in the city code].
Task 2 BFJ will look at the City's existing Vacant Buildings law and make suggestions on potential changes based upon best practices from other municipalities around the country. Potential fees from the vacancy law could be used to provide revenue for the Hudson Housing Trust Fund.
Task 3 Community Land Trusts provide an instrument for creating long-term affordability for affordable housing ownership opportunities. BFJ will provide an outline for a governance structures [sic] based upon best practices for community land trust that could help the City to create permanently affordable housing that could be used in the analysis of the five multifamily rental sites identified as part of the 2021 Affordable Housing Development Plan.
Task 4 BFJ will look at potential for any temporary affordable housing overlays in the interim while the City pursues a new comprehensive plan and zoning code update.
According to the contract, the fee for these services is $11,000, which will come from the $1 million Anti-Displacement Learning Network grant.
After the vote was taken to authorize the contract, Christine Chale, HCDPA legal counsel, said there have been discussions with the Hudson Housing Authority about an agreement that would allow HHA to purchase property owned by HCDPA. Chale reported that an agreement has been drafted and that agreement would be an agenda item for HCDPA's August 9 meeting.