Wednesday March 6, 2013

Williamstown is becoming increasingly older and wealthier. Young families and singles have limited options for rental and owner-occupied housing that is affordable. Though home prices here have declined somewhat over the last several years, home ownership is still out of reach for many. The Affordable Housing Committee seeks to increase the availability of housing that is affordable for those who live or work in Williamstown. A range of housing options will contribute to the economic and age diversity that is essential for the town’s future.

Williamstown has many amenities: natural beauty, cultural institutions, good schools, and well-run town government. Towns with these advantages tend to have higher housing costs than towns that lack them. There is, however, another factor at work: land use. We must face the fact that the decisions we make about land use impact housing costs.

The town of Williamstown is approximately 47 square miles: 30,000 acres. Currently, 89 percent of our land is forest, wetlands, cropland, pasture or in conservation. That leaves 11 percent available for residential, commercial and municipal use. It is undeniable that the limited amount of land available for residential use drives up housing costs.

We look forward to working together with all residents of Williamstown to address our housing needs. Working in good faith, we must consider solutions that work for the benefit of all. Positions that preclude compromise benefit no one. Together we must decide how best to use our resources for the future of Williamstown. BILAL ANSARI

CHARLES BONENTI

VAN ELLET

CHERYL SHANKS

LEIGH SHORT

CATHERINE YAMAMOTO

Williamstown

The writers constitute the full membership of the Williamstown Affordable Housing Committee. Catherine Yamamoto chairs the committee.