Dracut's Affordable Housing Production Plan

Through a grant Dracut received, our Regional Planning Agency, the Northern Middlesex Coucil of Governments (NMCOG), is contracted to assist Dracut's Affordable Housing Partnership with developing an Affordable Housing Production Plan.

An Affordable Housing Production Plan (HPP) is a community’s proactive strategy for planning and developing affordable housing. Through a HPP a community: 1) creates a strategy to enable it to meet its affordable housing needs in a manner consistent with the Chapter 40B statute and regulations, and 2) produces housing units in accordance with the HPP. 

There are many advantages for a community to create a HPP. It provides an opportunity to understand current housing conditions and then to determine both the projected housing needs of both the current population and the growth/change in composition of the population (e.g. more families, more elders). For example:

  • Are there enough “starter homes” for those forming new households? 
  • Is there adequate workforce housing?
  • What are the options in the community for empty nesters? 
  • How are the needs of the elderly and the frail elderly being met? 
  • Are there options for residents with physical and mental disabilities? 
  • Are there options for both rental and home ownership?

Communities need to look at the amount, type, and condition of the current housing stock to determine whether there is a sufficient variety of supply to meet projected housing demands and preferences in the years ahead.

The projections of future need serve as a starting point for examining suitable locations for housing development. Generally such sites will be in proximity of existing water and sewer lines. Perhaps they will be in proximity of downtown. This HPP articulates the community’s rationale for a diverse housing supply responsive to projected needs and preferences. It serves as the community’s pro-active strategy in determining the type and pace of housing growth. 

Specifically, by identifying housing needs in the community and identifying sites for development, the community will be providing guidance and direction for the kinds of development most responsive to local conditions; the HPP can serve as the housing element of an overall comprehensive plan (“master plan”) and/or capital improvement plan that may be required as a companion to the HPP in order to attract the types of development and housing opportunities the community needs; and if a community has a DHCD approved HPP and is granted a DHCD certification of compliance with the plan, a decision by the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) to deny a Comprehensive Permit application will be deemed “Consistent with Local Needs” under MGL Chapter 40B. “Consistent with Local Needs” means the ZBA’s decision will be upheld by the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC).             

The specific components of the HPP are described in the Guidelines. The HPP requires an explanation of the specific strategies by which the community will achieve its housing production goal, and a schedule for implementing the strategies in order to produce the units that will achieve this goal.

To view the AHHP Plan submitted for State approval, please click on the attachment at the bottom of this page. Thank you.

PDF icon final_dracut_ahpp4_2014_5_7.pdf5.79 MB