The Mad River Valley Housing Coalition (MRVHC) was created in 1989 to support the planning and production of a variety of housing options within the Mad River watershed through education, information and advocacy. It serves as a resource for developers, individuals, municipalities and nonprofits, and is available to channel resources for revolving or subsidy loan programs. MRVPD provides staffing support and technical assistance.
The Housing Coalition is a registered 501(c)(3) organization serving the towns of Fayston, Warren, Waitsfield, Moretown and Duxbury.
Meetings take place monthly at the General Wait House, 4061 Main Street in Waitsfield. Everyone is welcome, but times are subject to change, so please check the MRVPD Calendar for updates.
Valley Affordable Land Initiative (VALI)
In order to help satisfy the need for affordable workforce housing in the Mad River Valley, the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition, Inc. (MRVHC) established the Valley Affordable Land Initiative (VALI) in 2012. The MRVHC’s focus was to acquire parcels of land for free, or well below market rates, to be resold to qualified individuals or affordable housing developers with perpetual affordability mechanisms in place. The property owners were responsible for building the home with technical assistance from MRVHC. Parcels were sold at the lowest prices possible that allowed MRVHC to recover its expenses. The intent of the Initiative is to help facilitate affordable homeownership for first time homeowners who live or work in the Mad River Valley by greatly minimizing the cost of buying land.
German Flats Road Housing Project
In 2012 Sugarbush Resort donated the first VALI parcel of land - a 1.5 acre parcel in Fayston (value of $61,000). MRVHC subdivided and secured septic approval for a three-bedroom house. MRVHC created an application process, and selected one family based on the following guidelines:
- First time homeowners, except people who lost their homes as a result of Tropical Storm Irene.
- Applicants should already live or work in the Mad River Valley.
- Applicants’ household income should be no more than 100% of the county median income, and preferably no more than 80% of the county median income*
- Applicants can demonstrate they have the means to pay for closing costs, house construction costs and monthly carrying / operating costs.
Requirements included ability to pay related costs, completing construction within two years, and attending Downstreet Housing & Community Development’s homebuyer education workshops. MRVHC then provided design support and connected the family with community resources for construction.
The family purchased the home for $6,000, the amount required for MRVHC to recoup costs for subdivision, permitting, and septic updates. With the help of the Central Vermont Vocational Technical Center, the family completed construction of the home in 2013, which includes a covenant to remain perpetually affordable. Read an article published in the Rutland Herald about the effort here.
Land Donation Framework
There are many potential benefits to a donor for donating land for affordable, workforce housing. Beyond providing resources to meet a vital need in one’s community, donating land eliminates the expense responsibility of managing the land, and can provide substantial federal and state income tax deductions, property tax savings, and estate tax benefits from removing the property from the donor’s estate. Capital gains taxes that would have resulted from selling the property can be avoided which could be significant for highly appreciated property.
There are large land parcels in the Valley from which one or two small parcels on the perimeter could be subdivided without negatively impacting the use and enjoyment of the larger parcel by its owner or interfere with future development opportunities.
Larger parcels could be a fit for multifamily dwellings and any excess land can be transferred to a conservation organization or sold to help fund MRVHC operating and transaction costs, meeting multiple community goals.
Methods of donation:
- Outright gift
- Donating a remainder interest in land (In this arrangement, the owner donates the property during their lifetime, but continues to live on and use the property until they pass and full ownership will then transfer).
- Donation by will
- Charitable/bargain sale
MRV Housing Studies:
The Housing Studies seek to analyze the circumstances that create barriers to
affordable housing in the MRV through a needs assessment, summary of types of housing needed & options, barriers to creation, and strategies to creation.
In fall 2009 the Mad River Valley Housing Coalition developed Open a New Door: A Guide to Creating & Renting Accessory Apartments in the Mad River Valley