I just responded to a great comment from Nic Scalfarotto, and since my general sense is that such comments and my replies are not likely seem by many, and sense Nic raised a big issue, I thought I would post both his comment and my reply here so more can see them.
Nic, I added a little more on as well.
Plan to address our lack of a commercial tax base
As a new selectman, my first search was for businesses that wanted to locate in town, and when that did not seem a likely result, I have turned to having a town policy of building housing that is revenue positive to the town.
We know that people want to live in town, but mainly not build businesses here. The can make tax money and reduce our current residents’ taxes by building the kind of housing that is more profitable, such as Old Village Square (42 units paying over $600K/year in taxes, with one school child the last time I heard) or the two Larkin brothers projects (Glover Place off North Street and Chapel Hill on Hospital Road, again, both with few school children).
See the analysis that Kathy McCabe, the consultant to the Medfield State Hospital Master Planning Committee, did of the potential taxes to the town from leasing the lot 3 land the town owns on Ice House Road to build 42 units of senior housing versus leasing to a commercial facility, and the town netted either more than double or more that triple the taxes from the residential use over the sports complex, depending on whether the housing was either 100% or 25% affordable, respectively. Those results were summarized in Steve Nolan’s 1/2/2018 memo to the Board of Selectmen available here –20180102-SN-Memo to MSHMPC re HinkleyIce House Road v2 – final sent to BoS and inserted below as well.
I think that many of the friendly 40B projects that we are currently allowing in order to be in safe harbor, will be revenue positive. Statistically, we are told that we will likely average about 1.5 school children per in single family houses, while we will likely average 0.15 school children per unit in multifamily housing. So multifamily housing may well be revenue positive for the town, even if not age restricted.
Additionally, the town is already mainly single family homes, so we really do not need any more single family homes options, while we do not have a sufficient variety of other housing opportunities for residents, especially for seniors. Current proposals in the pipeline will assist at filling in that gap:
8 units on North Street (two developments)
36 units on Dale Street
16 units on Adams Street, age restricted
42 units at the Rosebay, age restricted
56 units (from memory) at The Legion site
However, such diversification of the tax base can only accomplish so much with respect to reducing our individual tax bills. The other issue with which we need to deal is the town’s willing to spend, witness our vote at the last annual town meeting (ATM) to increase our tax bills by about 10%, over the objections of the Board of Selectmen and the Warrant Committee.