No Affordable Housing At Rice Pond Village

The developer for the proposed Rice Pond Village project at 17 Rice Road in Millbury, Massachusetts, Steven F. Venincasa, doing business as Whitney Street Home Builders, LLC, has repeatedly said that he wants affordable housing credit benefits for the proposed project, but has made it abundantly clear that his organization does not want affordable housing units on the proposed Rice Pond Village property. The optics appear to be somewhat like a NIMBY scenario? Perhaps there is another reason for this that has not been articulated by the developer.

Steven F. Venincasa has said he would like to purchase, construct, or rehabilitate a group home to accommodate up to six individuals with psychiatric, physical, sensory, developmental, or other disabilities somewhere other than the proposed Rice Pond Village project site, at an undisclosed location, which a Millbury Planning Board member aptly pointed out would be less expensive for the developer than building the required individual affordable housing units.

Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC)

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit Program (LIHTC) is a federally authorized program for non-profit and for-profit developers to promote the construction and rehabilitation of affordable rental housing.

The Low Income Housing Tax Credit (LIHTC) was created by Congress under Section 252 of the Tax Reform Act of 1986 to promote the construction and rehabilitation of housing for low income persons. The tax credit provides a means by which developers may raise capital for the construction or acquisition and substantial rehabilitation of housing for low income persons. Under the federal income tax code, investors in low income rental housing are permitted to take a credit against taxes owed the federal government. In Massachusetts, the Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) is the allocating agency for tax credits. DHCD is responsible for preparing the annual allocation plan and making it available for review by interested members of the public before final publication. Because it depends on investor capital rather than just direct government subsidies, the LIHTC has imposed market discipline that results in long term stability for the projects. Investors assume significant risks and assert strict business discipline in selecting projects and overseeing their development and long-term operations.

NIMBY, an acronym for the phrase “not in my back yard”, or Nimby, is a characterization of opposition by residents to proposed developments in their local area, as well as support for strict land use regulations. It carries the connotation that such residents are only opposing the development because it is close to them and that they would tolerate or support it if it were built farther away. The residents are often called Nimbys, and their viewpoint is called Nimbyism.