Slow Response to Housing Crisis

Brattleboro officials notice the housing crisis: 500 units are needed — NOW. But recent proposals for construction of a dozen or so units are a pathetic response.

The selectboard and committees are fixated on new construction, as if that is the only way.

Brattleboro Common Sense (BCS) proposed rent controls and just-cause eviction controls (JCE) two years ago, and town government has done nothing. BCS is also proposing emergency measures to create new housing by increasing occupancy limits and allowing RV’s to be rented as bedrooms and mini-houses in private driveways.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – New Chair, New Goals

selectboard april 5 2022

The Brattleboro Selectboard, under new management of Chair Ian Goodnow, had their first regular meeting of April and their first long discussion. It was about goals and what they want to do in the coming year. They also had their first meeting in the Municipal Center in quite a long time, sitting closely without masks and wondering where members of the public might be.

The board approved of a catering license, loaned some more money for new housing, allowed short term rental in the parking garage, and more.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda & Notes – April 5, 2022

A rather routine agenda awaits the “new” Brattleboro Selectboard at their first regular meeting of April 2022. A liquor license, lease agreements, board goals and assignments, and loans. The board will also discuss raising the fee for recycling.

You can bring up other items not on this agenda during public participation.


Beating Speculation: Requiring A Wait Period Before Renting Out

Here’s an interesting idea to curb speculative investing: Create a rule that any new homebuyer must wait a year or two before renting out a property.

The Washington Post has a story about it being tried in a few places. Not a perfect solution, but slows that out-of-state speculation and the big investment companies are squealing so it must be working to some degree.


Help Us Understand Housing Needs in Brattleboro

The Town of Brattleboro is conducting a housing survey to help the Town and its partners create housing solutions to address pressing housing needs. Your contribution to the study of housing needs is very important. Findings from the survey will be incorporated into a Housing Action Plan that is expected to be completed this fall. Take the survey at http://tinyurl.com/brattleborohousing. In addition to residents of Brattleboro, property owners and those who would like to live in Brattleboro but have had trouble finding housing are encouraged to take the survey.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – December 1, 2020

Goodbye, Archery Building. At their next meeting, the Brattleboro Selectboard will be voting to tear down the old train yard building to make room for paved parking spaces.

They will also hear another first reading of the proposed Rental Housing ordinance, hear updates on community marketing and the Downtown Brattleboro Alliance, consider tax exemptions for five properties, and continue with their review of the FY22 budget. If you are so inclined, you can add to the agenda by bringing up other items during public participation.


Landlords & the Vermont Housing Crisis: A Response from TUB to Brandie Starr’s “Be Part of the Movement Towards a Sustainable Brattleboro”

Brandie Starr of the Brattleboro selectboard recently wrote an article titled, “Be part of the movement towards a sustainable Brattleboro” in which she directly addresses community members and, more specifically, landlords. The article is in reaction to and support of a, now notorious, proposal written by the Tenants’ Union of Brattleboro (TUB) which limits security deposits to an amount of one month’s rent or less.

Since the proposal was added to the last selectboard meeting agenda and since Starr has voiced her support, there have been rumblings of discontent from the landlord community. From voices of opposition at the selectboard meetings, to local landlord Deedee Jones’s rebuttal piece, to emails sent directly to the tenant’s union.

I am a member of TUB and a tenant who has rented four apartments in Brattleboro. On behalf of myself and the tenant’s union, I would like to elaborate on Starr’s points and examine the conditions that make a proposal like this reasonable, necessary and, quite honestly, not very radical. I would also like to address some of the voiced and rumored concerns from our local landlords.


Selectboard Meeting Notes: Community Safety Review Facilitators Chosen, Committee Stipends Set

The Brattleboro Selectboard approved a proposal for a Community Safety Review facilitation team. They chose a local proposal, created a committee, and decided on how much to pay for stipends.

Other issues before the board involved the Department of Public Works, some grants, and gathering data on housing to aid town planning.


Brattleboro Selectboard Meeting Agenda and Notes – September 14, 2020

Five proposals for community safety review facilitation have been received, twenty six applications to be on the committee are in hand, and the perhaps re-organized Brattleboro Selectboard will decide next steps at their next Tuesday meeting. Committee members will be interviewed and appointed at a special meeting.

Grants and bid awards are also on the agenda, as is the purchase of a new salt shed. You can add other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Brattleboro Renters Request Landlord Limits

selectboard september 1, 2020

The Brattleboro Selectboard discussed affordable housing at length Tuesday evening. A new affordable housing project downtown on Flat Street, a town-wide zoning change to create more rentable units, and a discussion of an ordinance to limit what landlords can collect up front from tenants all indicated difficulties for the 60% of residents who rent in Brattleboro.

The DPW also shared a bit of the spotlight, with road grants and a new mower attachment.


Brattleboro Selectboard Agenda and Notes – September 1, 2020

Housing and getting around will be discussed at the next meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. There is a new affordable housing project planned for Flat Street, the Tenant’s Union is asking for an ordinance to regulate security deposits, the DPW needs some vehicles and will apply for some road erosion grants, and there is a “interim zoning bylaw public hearing.”

It’s all on Zoom and you can bring up other items not on the agenda during public participation.


Affordable Housing in Brattleboro

It is very revealing that in all the comments of sympathy and advice about one family’s difficulties in finding affordable housing, a post and thread appearing very recently on fbook, not one asks if it is possible for us, as a community, to house ourselves.

The population of Brattleboro has decreased slightly from what it was in 1960. Although there is a relatively small number of new units built every year there is a very large number over that span. As far as I know not one Selectboard in all these years has tried to deal with affordable housing other than approving federally funded projects when one happened to be brought before them. Most of that money dried up long ago. Sixty years have passed and we have more people struggling with housing than ever before.


VT Governor Scott Announces Housing Assistance Programs

Montpelier, Vt. – Governor Phil Scott, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD), the Vermont State Housing Authority and the Vermont State Housing Finance Agency today announced $30 million in housing assistance to those affected by COVID-19. The programs, first proposed by the Administration and amended and passed by the Legislature, utilize federal CARES Act funding to provide relief for those tenants unable to pay rent, landlords suffering from a loss of rent payments and those lower income homeowners needing assistance in paying their mortgages.

“Landlords, renters, homeowners and those experiencing homelessness have all been impacted by this virus and need assistance, which is why we’ve worked closely with the Legislature to provide this relief,” said Governor Phil Scott. “As we continue to fight this virus, keep Vermonters safe and restart our economy, we know our recovery starts with everyone having a safe and secure place to call home.”


Governor Scott’s State of the State Address

Mr. President, Madam Speaker, Mr. Chief Justice, members of the General Assembly, honored guests and fellow Vermonters:

Today, I welcome the opening of the legislative session with the same optimism I had as a freshman senator from Washington County nearly two decades ago. 

I come before you to report on the state of the state, to reflect on the work we’ve done and to share a vision and priorities for our future. 


Selectboard Meeting Notes – Rental Housing, Day Work, Sustainability

Brattleboro Selectboard

The Brattleboro Selectboard held their only meeting of July. Despite objections from many landlords, the board approved a new rental housing inspection program, and despite numerous statements of support they put off deciding on how best to deal with issues of sustainability.

New tax rates for FY20 were set, a 3-month day work pilot program was funded, Groundworks received $100,000 for housing, and more.


Brattleboro Selectboard – Agenda & Notes July 9, 2019

Brattleboro’s new “Work Today” program for day labor will be explained and partially funded at Tuesday’s meeting of the Brattleboro Selectboard. Youth Services is taking the lead on this attempt to employ members of the community that have trouble finding steady work.

The board will take up the question of whether to create a Sustainability Officer position within town government, enact a rental housing inspection program, the town pool needs more repairs, tax rates will be set, goals will be reviewed, the library will get grants to help with local history, we’ll buy another pick-up truck, goals will be reviewed, committee members will be appointed, and more.

You can bring up other matters not on the agenda during public participation.