Stratford Group Requests Town Funding For Oxford Project
Fairhaven officials say they were surprised when the Oxford school's development group recently asked for town funding, and even more surprised when they saw for how much.
During Monday's Board of Selectmen meeting, officials discussed the Stratford Group's $325,000 Community Preservation Commission funding request, which happens to be the same amount they're buying the property for.
The Stratford Group, which plans to convert the historic Fairhaven school into affordable elderly housing, has asked for CPC funding in other projects. The Department of Housing and Community Development requires them to make the request before looking for state funding.
While the state requires them to ask for CPC funds because of historic and affordable housing tax credits, Selectman Dan Freitas and others found the amount odd. Freitas said the board plans to meet with the company to avoid any future surprises.
"If they're going to ask us for something, I think they should do it all at once," Freitas said, "I think they've done this enough times that they should have all the questions that they need to ask us."
Selectman Bob Espindola, a member of the negotiating committee, says the CPC funding was never brought up before.
The town's Community Preservation Commission can recommend granting a smaller amount. However, Town Planner Bill Roth told WBSM News the funds give the Stratford Group's application a better chance of approval, and not getting the necessary financing could potentially cause them to walk away.
"So, if they don't get their low-income housing tax credits because they don't have a competitive application they can choose to walk away. They can choose to do something else," Roth said.
If that were to happen, Roth said it would create a huge liability for the town with the aging vacant building.