Hadley fires up climate change, affordable housing committees

Staff Writer
Published: 3/8/2020 11:52:04 PM

HADLEY — Committees that will provide advice on how Hadley can mitigate climate change and ensure suitable housing exists in town are being created by the Select Board.

The board this week gave charges to two new committees and formally appointed members to both.

The Climate Change Committee, which will be chaired by Jack Czajkowski, will be made up of residents Jeanne Armstrong, Stephen Armstrong, Michael Docter and Joanne Goding, with Select Board Chairman Christian Stanley serving as a liaison.

Stanley said the committee will evaluate municipal energy uses, put a number to the carbon and ecological footprint of Hadley and evaluate how to promote sustainable practices.

Its charge will include identifying potential actions to confront a changing climate, help the town evaluate, choose and implement actions that are sustainable, and monitor changes in the town’s ecological footprint over time.

For the Housing and Economic Development Committee, the members will be residents Sean Barry, Emma Dragon, William Dwyer, Amy Fyden, Mark Howard, Jo-Ann Konieczny and Dylan Manz, with Stanley and fellow Select Board member Molly Keegan serving as liaisons.

Stanley said ensuring housing is affordable for young families is important and that a diminished population would affect the school systems, tax revenue and infrastructure.

“This is a way to kind of enhance that and try to find ways that Hadley can digest that would enhance our development and our future,” Stanley said.

With Dwyer also serving on the Planning Board, the new committee could unite the Select Board and Planning Board on projects and common language, and help both panels to understand better how housing projects coordinated by nonprofits such as Valley Community Development occur.

Among the committee’s charges will be identifying the current inventory of housing in Hadley, exploring resources available to build affordable housing and improve the quality of existing housing, and learning about exclusionary land-use practices that inhibit the development of affordable housing.

The committee might also work with neighboring universities to quantify the need for student housing, locate possible areas for development, and determine alternative zoning and uses, while making sure Hadley’s agricultural heritage is prioritized.

Scott Merzbach can be reached at smerzbach@gazettenet.com.

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