On September 29, 2021

Woodstock EDC discusses housing shortage

By Katy Savage

WOODSTOCK—The Woodstock Economic Development Commission might provide funding and incentives for those wanting to add an accessory dwelling unit to their home after a survey posted on the town listserv saw a strong interest.

EDC chair Jon Spector said about 40 residents responded to the survey — 30 of whom were interested in learning more.

“We were very encouraged by the response,” Spector said. “The next steps would be to figure out what would help these folks to build or create accessory dwelling units.”

An accessory dwelling unit is an apartment addition to an existing home, garage or a new structure with a living and cooking area separate from the main house.

This is one of many solutions the EDC has considered to address a housing shortage in Woodstock since a 2019 study found Woodstock is especially in need of small housing for young people or people with smaller incomes who work in the community.

“We have a lot of big houses,” Spector said. “What we need are housing for permanent residents who are working locally and trying to find a place they can afford.”

Some members of the EDC have said the housing shortage has contributed to a labor shortage. “Alleviating the housing shortage takes a really long time,” Spector said. “It took 20 years to build the problem up and it will take 20 years to alleviate it.”

The survey was meant to simply gauge interest. While there is some fear from residents that new housing would change the visual character of the town, Spector said accessory dwelling units would cause the least visual change.

“There are many ideas to increase housing supply,” Spector said. “Accessory dwelling units is an easy way to do it. It doesn’t typically create huge changes in the visual landscape.”

Spector expected the EDC’s housing working group to propose a budget by January to help fund accessory dwelling units for those interested as early as 2022.

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