The Champlain Housing Trust has announced plans to build 100 new homes in Hinesburg to provide families an affordable place to live — a project conceived amid a housing crisis wrought by soaring costs.
Philanthropist Jan Blomstrann, the former owner of NRG Systems, a renewable energy firm based in Hinesburg, is donating 46 acres of land south of Champlain Valley Union High School for the neighborhood, CHT announced on Friday. Not yet planned in detail, the new neighborhood is expected to have family-friendly amenities such as sledding hills, playgrounds and trails.
CHT will develop 40 homes and Green Mountain Habitat for Humanity will put up 20. Habitat uses volunteer labor including "sweat equity" from those who are to live in its homes, in order to keep prices low.
These 60 homes will be for families earning less than the median area income — about $86,400 for a family of three. They'll use a "shared equity" model in which the owners, when they sell, share funds from appreciation of the home in order to keep the houses affordable in perpetuity.
Sterling Construction will build 40 market-rate houses. They'll include starter homes as well as larger, single-family houses. The houses all will be energy efficient and will "maximize the use of alternative energy solutions," according to CHT.
The announcement comes at a time of high demand for housing in Chittenden County and Vermont. Few homes are available and prices have soared.
“I look forward to the generations of families that will have the profound opportunity to benefit from homeownership," Blomstrann said in a statement. "I urge town and state regulators, along with the array of funders needed, to make this new neighborhood a reality.”
In a statement, CHT CEO Michael Monte said the project fits Hinesburg's growth plan and is "critically needed to support working families and the Vermont economy."
"This will be a model project that I hope will inspire other communities across our region and state to prioritize affordable housing development when Vermonters’ need is so great,” Monte said.
The project will be designed in detail this spring, and the developers will seek permits later in the year. The first homes are expected to be ready to purchase in the summer of 2024. By 2026, the project should be complete, according to CHT.