Portfolio Outline - Eric J. Russo 11/16/09 City Planning...

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Eric J. Russo 11/16/09 City Planning Portfolio Outline Sunderland Massachusetts Sunderland is a farming town with a beautiful display of green located off of I-91 in the Western part of Massachusetts. The town is part of a larger community, Franklin County, a county with 26 towns. According to the last census in 2000 the population of Sunderland was 3,777. In this small town there are only 765 families and 1,633 households. As for transportation there are buses growing in and out of the town and also the Amherst Amtrak train minutes away. Sunderland is 14.4 square miles of land and 0.4 square miles of water and is located on the east bank of the Connecticut River. Other features in the town include Mt. Toby which is known for its waterfalls and in the town adjacent to Sunderland, Deerfield, there is Sugarloaf Mountain. In an aerial view of Sunderland one will see a lot of opened fields for farming and a lot of trees, a truly beautiful sight.(“Sunderland, Massachusetts (MA 01375) profile: population, maps, real estate, averages, homes, statistics, relocation, travel, jobs, hospitals, schools, crime, moving, houses, news”) The focus of my project is to get to the bottom of Sunderland’s decreasing population. Because of this decrease in population and the lack of affordable housing, Sunderland is under the Massachusetts 40b housing project. What is being done under this project and also what the future plans are to prevent this from happening again is a main following point. As a case study I am also going to discuss the sugar bush meadows complex controversy, for it is a perfect case going on right now which relates directly to my main focus. The town in the last decade has gone through some very frustrating times; it has almost 0 percent affordable housing, and while the median house value is above the state average the renting percentage is also higher. No one is really sticking around to fall with Sunderland, why would they? Although the times are rough it is possible to get things back on track again, and my goal is to find out how and what Sunderland is doing for this change. Sunderland’s decrease in population isn’t something that just currently arose; it’s been a problem for a little over a decade. With this said, for a little over a decade the town has been trying to gets its affordable housing above 10 percent. Once this is accomplished they are still
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going to want to increase their affordable housing, but at least at this point they don’t have to follow 40b, Sunderland will be able to shape their town around their own rules. It has been really hard for them to get to that point. With everyone renting houses and not buying houses, along with people moving out, the town has had no income. Sunderland has more residents with income below the poverty level than of the state average. (“Sunderland, Massachusetts (MA
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Portfolio Outline - Eric J. Russo 11/16/09 City Planning...

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