Red Clover Commons FAQ

Melrose Terrace/Red Clover Commons Frequently Asked Questions

These are being developed as BHA staff and residents meet to discuss the new development on 30 Fairground Road and the relocation of Melrose Terrace residents to this new site. The date at the end of the question indicates when the question was asked. At the end of the list are the dates of meetings held with residents, if a question does not relate to a meeting date then it was asked individually on or about the date given. The questions have been put in reverse order so the most recent meeting is first.

  1. Will there be an area for birdfeeders? 2/18/14
  2. How will BHA decide who lives next to whom? 2/18/14
  3. Will there be a buzzer system accessible 24/7? At SEA the outside door locks at 9 so people can’t buzz someone in after 9:00. 2/18/14
  4. Will there be cameras in the building as there are at SEA? 2/18/14
  5. Will there be a soda machine so the Association can make money? 2/18/14
  6. What will happen to the Melrose Association HUD money and the Association funds? 2/18/14
  7. Chris Hart (BHA ED) reviewed the current site and building plans for Red Clover Commons. The first question was: How are you going to allocate parking underneath the building? There are 35 spaces underneath the building and 23 on the surface lot. We anticipate all residents to be using the unground parking. The number of spaces is based on looking at numbers and need at our existing properties. 2/4/14
  8. Are there stairs cases? Yes, two internal stairways and two elevators. 2/4/14
  9. What do you mean by meeting rooms on each floor? The first floor has a large dining/meeting room and smaller café space adjoining the kitchen. There is also a small lounge area along the corridor where it slightly breaks to the south. This lounge area also is found on the second floor. On the third floor this area has been enlarged to serve as an other activities/meeting room. 2/4/14
  10. What will the laundry rooms be like? There is a laundry room on each floor which will have two washers and two dryers, a folding table and sink. 2/4/14
  11. Are you going to install a card system for the laundry machines? We have not made a final decision about that yet. 2/4/14
  12. Will the main entrance be locked? Yes, you will need a key to enter. 2/4/14
  13. How will trash be handled on the 2nd and 3rd floors? At this time we are planning on a shoot for trash from the upper floors. Recycling will need to be brought down to bins located in the underground garage. Not completely decided as of yet. 2/4/14
  14. Who will be living at Red Clover? This is intended to first and foremost be for the people at Melrose Terrace. After that it will be opened to those 55 and older. 2/4/14
  15. What is going to be the pet policy with regard to outside cats? They are allowed now at Melrose. We do not allow outdoor cats at Melrose or anywhere and will not at RCC. The person asking this question has a cat that has been ‘grandfathered’ and thus allowed to be outside. The setting for Red Clover is much different than here at Melrose and it is not a good idea to have free ranging animals outside given that the area is much more built up and not nearly as safe for loose animals as Melrose. 2/4/14
  16. Are we going to have a regular sized oven? I believe so but will need to get that confirmed. 2/4/14
  17. How will rent be allocated? BHA is working with the Vermont State Housing Authority to get 55 Project Based Vouchers into RCC. This would mean that residents would not get their own Voucher but instead the Voucher would go with the unit at RCC. If successful, rent will remain as it is now, income based and capped at 30%. Electricity would be included in rent. 2/4/14
  18. What will be the heat source, will it still be electric? We are looking at a pellet furnace with a forced hot air system. 2/4/14
  19. Will we have assistance with moving? Yes, BHA will have to do the relocation (packing and moving) and pay for the cost of re-hooking up your phone and cable. 2/4/14
  20. Will the stove be self cleaning or have a removable door? I will have to put it on the list and find out. We are already significantly over budget so items that add cost will be difficult to add in. 2/4/14
  21. Will Comcast still have a monopoly or will you allow us to put up dishes? We will not permit dishes on the building or property. 2/4/14
  22. Will there be a cable connection in the living room and bedroom like I asked before? I will need to check. The plans are not to that level of detail but I will flag this for the Architect. 2/4/14
  23. What is the timeframe for all this to happen? We hope to have a ground breaking in the fall of this year with a ribbon cutting in the fall of 2015. Relocation will not start until the building is finished so we are anticipating the moves to start in January of 2016. 2/4/14
  24. What happens to those left here at Melrose? We will move the remaining 25 residents to the safest buildings and shut down the ones no longer being used. We anticipate only having 5 to 6 of the buildings open after the first 55 move. 2/4/14
  25. When will we find out if we are going to be moving? We will be determining this over the next 6 months. We have very strict relocation regulations to follow which determine when we can notify you of your opportunity to move. You will get a formal relocation notification letter to start the process. 2/4/14
  26. When will the other 25 residents move? We hope to start looking for the Phase II site in the next few months. It is my hope that Phase II would open a year after Red Clover. Phase II will include the 25 residents, BHA offices and maintenance garage. 2/4/14
  27. How will you decide who will get offered Red Clover? We will be looking at how long residents have lived at Melrose. An issue we need to decide is how we handle folks who have been in public housing but at another site prior to coming to Melrose. Will their time at other BHA public housing be counted towards their seniority for Red Clover? 2/4/14
  28. How will you decide who gets which apartment and floor? We haven’t decided on that yet. 2/4/14
  29. Have you considered individual preferences for units? We know that it will exist especially around the shower vs. tub issue. We will address it as we determine how we will prioritize all Melrose residents. 2/4/14
  30. What if we get offered Red Clover but decide to stay at Melrose? That is a choice you can make but there are some serious issues to decide in making it: 1) We don’t know now and may not know fully if Phase II will be a new building, rehab of an existing one or dispersing the last 25 residents throughout the community with Vouchers to subsidize their rent. 2) There is a risk that Melrose will flood again and this time there will not be the possibility of repairing and re-occupying. Also, your possessions could get damaged again. 3) If we develop a Phase II we might again project base all the Vouchers so you will not get an individual one to take somewhere. You will have to go to Phase II to keep your deeply subsidized rent. 2/4/14
  31. I thought you said before that we would get a Voucher, stay for a year and then be able to leave taking the Voucher with us? We have discussed three different Voucher programs with you: Rental Assistance Demonstration, Tenant Protection Vouchers and Project Based Vouchers. In the first and last programs (RAD and PBV) this is true ONLY if VSHA or BHA has Vouchers to give individuals. The VSHA individual Voucher Program has been closed since October 2013 and BHA’s has been closed even longer. Under Tenant Protection Vouchers you are given the Voucher from the start and can use it at RCC or elsewhere as you relocate from Melrose. 2/4/14
  32. Why is this called Melrose relocation? What about the other residents at BHA properties? Red Clover Commons is being developed to relocate Melrose residents from the flood hazard area. You are the priority and the first residents at RCC will be Melrose residents. RCC is not for other BHA residents or folk in the community until it has served all the Melrose Terrace residents that it can. 2/4/14
  33. When will people stop being allowed to occupy newly vacanted units in Melrose? When HUD tells us we can no longer re-occupy vacated units. For a variety of reasons it is much better for BHA to have the units re-occupied as long as we possibly can. 2/4/14
  34. Why do some buildings have flood gates and others do not? The amount of hazard mitigation work we were able to do in each building was a function of FEMA rules and the costs we had incurred in repairing the units after the flood. 2/4/14
  35. Will there be an air conditioning system in the new building. Yes and as with the heat it will be controlled in each unit by the resident and common areas by BHA. 2/4/14
  36. What have you decided about bathtubs and showers? We have decided to have about half and half of each in the units. This has not been finally decided but some tubs will definitely be included. 2/4/14
  37. How do these new units compare in size to the ones we have at Melrose now? They are a bit bigger. Remember, Melrose was built to the standards of 1965. There was no ADA and a fairly minimal life safety code. Red Clover will be built to the rigorous standards of 2014 for ADA, Life Safety and Energy Efficiency. 2/4/14
  38. Will the new units be carpeted? There will be carpeting in the hallways, bedrooms and living rooms. There will be tile or linoleum in the bathrooms and kitchens. The floor treatment for some of the common areas has not been decided yet. Staff noted one resident who said she cannot have any carpeting in her apartment at all. 2/4/14
  39. How is soundproofing being handled? The Architect is very mindful of this as a high need. The carpeting will provide soundproofing as will other materials to be put between walls and floors. 2/4/14
  40. Will there be enough curb cuts from the sidewalks so we don’t have to lift our walkers over curbs to get round the grounds? The site engineer and Architect are trying to make as many paths and walks meet the ADA at grade for this very reason. (One area in the back was pointed out because the walk has three sets of stairs and a long looping ramp system. HVT and BHA have asked the Architect and his team to see if they can do this area at a sloping grade instead.) 2/4/14
  41. It looks like handrails will be needed on the walk near the yellow bushes, will there be one? If a handrail is called for to meet the ADA requirements than it will be installed. Again, we are trying to do the walks at the ADA slope so that handrails and long ramps are not needed. We think this will make the site more enjoyable and accessible for residents. 2/4/14
  42. I see you are planning on moving the Memorial Garden; it needs a lot more attention than it is getting here. 2/4/14
  43. Are you going to have raised beds like we do here? We intended to move as many of the ones we have here as we can. They are planned for the back area of the building with a garden shed in the underground garage. 2/4/14
  44. How close is the building to Wilson’s Woods? The backyards of the houses on one side of Wilson’s Woods abut this property. The Town has a drainage swale which runs in the middle of the property line between Red Clover and Wilson’s Woods. 2/4/14
  45. How will I get things into my apartment? I have a neighbor who helps me now. There will be carts in the lobby to use to bring things from the ground floor up. As for the helpful neighbor, he might be there with you. 11/12/13
  46. Will there be an intercom system? Yes   11/12/13
  47. Will the elevator go to the garage? Yes   11/12/13
  48. Are we really not going to have balconies, it would be so nice to have a little area to sit outside our apartment? It is very unlikely given the costs and funding constraints. We have to set priorities among everything.   11/12/13
  1. What are you going to do about the high school kids walking through? We will have on site staff and if need be use Hunter North at first. The lay out doesn’t lend itself to a walk through to Walgreens.   11/12/13
  1. What is the status of the Red Clover development? We now have a sketch plan of the outside of the building and the grounds but that is all. This will evolve as we go through the long permitting and funding approval processes. We will bring the updates back to you. 10/21/13
  2. Will a pitched roof cause icicles? It shouldn’t given the high energy efficiency standards that the building will have to meet. 10/21/13
  1. How will the inside of the building be laid out? While we do not have these plans on paper yet, we conceptual see underground parking, a first floor with common areas, offices, dining area and warming kitchen and some residential units and then one to two more stories with residential units and small sitting areas on each floor. Laundries will probably be on each floor near the sitting areas. The building is in 3 connected sections which looks like a T with a small jog at its long end. The top of the “T” is a wide section which is a corridor with apartments on both sides. This section runs along Fairground Rd. This is joined to the long vertical section of the “T” which is a corridor with apartments only on the side facing the gardens and Wilson’s Woods. The corridor is along the Walgreens side and the drive up for the building. At the end of this section is a small jog to the right which is another corridor with apartments only on the side looking out over the lawn. 10/21/13

Walgreens

Walgreens

 

  1. Will there be balconies? No. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be trash chutes with recycling? Yes to trash chutes not sure how recycling will be handled but we understand you don’t want to be carrying your recycling down. 10/21/13
  1. Where will be the laundry room? Probably will have one on each floor near sitting area.  10/21/13
  1. Will there be a deep sink with water in the laundry and a large folding table? We will try to get all the things you want into the laundry rooms as we have heard your concerns about them. 10/21/13
  1. And industrial laundry machines? Probably good front loading commercial machines on blocks so they are easier to use. 10/21/13
  1. I have to pay for 60 minutes of drying when I don’t need but 20 will we be able to have more choices of drying time? We’ll try to get this. We might also go to a card system instead of using coins. The cards would be filled at the office and we would put a machine in the laundry rooms. 10/21/13
  1. Will the cupboards in the kitchens be lower? Yes, we’ve heard that you want this. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be more storage space in the apartments? The new units will have more space and they will meet the ADA requirements for accessibility. For example, the bathrooms will be large enough for a person and helper to be in them. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be sound proofing between floors and in the walls? There will be more insulation then you have now at Melrose which should help with the noise issues but we will also note that sound carrying is a concern. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be fire proofing and a call for aid system? Yes the new building will meet the 2014 standards for life safety codes and we will have a call for aid which will probably be a big step up from the ones you have now. The building will also be fully sprinkled with a fire alarm tied into the Town. 10/21/13
  1. What will the dining area be like? So, far I can tell you it is sized so that all 55 to 62 residents can eat at once. There will not be a full kitchen but a warming kitchen so that if Meals on Wheels brings in a lunch they can get it ready for serving in the kitchen. The dining area or another space will be able to be separated into at least two areas. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be tubs or showers? We haven’t decided on this yet. It is a point of strong even division among residents, half want showers and half want tubs. We might have showers with a separate tub room on each floor. 10/21/13
  1. We should have those tub/shower units. Those are doubtful as they are fairly expensive. 10/21/13
  1. How did you go from 55 to 62 units? By adding another floor to the small jog out at the end.   It will stay at 62 as long as we can fund it. 10/21/13
  1. Might you put in showers with the detachable showerhead/handles? Yes. 10/21/13
  1. How many entrances will there be to an apartment? One. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be carpets? Hasn’t been decided yet. 10/21/13
  1. The door is so close to the floor that I can’t have a carpet or rug even in my bathroom, will this be different in the new building? It should be. 10/21/13
  1. Will there be pantries in the kitchen like we have now? Not sure but we have it down as something you’d like. 10/21/13
  1. The noise from next door and above is bad at Melrose. With increased insulation and attention to this as an issue I hope we can address it sufficiently. 10/21/13
  1. Would like to have the building have cable hookup in the living room and bedroom. We should be addressing this as well as internet for the building. 10/21/13
  1. Can we bring our flowers with us and perhaps add them to the Memorial Garden? Yes. 10/21/13
  1. What will the rent be? We are working very hard to keep your rents under the same method as they are now – based on your income. The subsidy source will be different but the rent computation method we are determined to keep the same. 10/21/13
  1. Please don’t put the kitchens on the bedroom walls, too noisy! Got it! 10/21/13
  1. 77. I have carpeting in my apartment and its horrible especially in the kitchen. It doesn’t dampen the noise and is just a mess. 10/21/13
  1. 78. I like the new heaters are you putting in those? We don’t know yet what heat source we will use. Again, it will be very efficient. 10/21/13
  1. What will be the smoking rules? The property will be no smoking. 10/21/13
  1. Can we bring our animals? Yes. 10/21/13
  1. 81. What will be the timing of all this? We will need to get permits from the Town and State. Funding from a variety of sources and many HUD approvals. We are starting this process now. You will see notices in the paper and we will be visiting the Select Board and Development Review Board. The plan is still to begin construction in the fall of 2014 and finish in the fall of 2015 with occupancy starting right after. 10/21/13
  1. What will be the priority for moving? It will involve how long someone has lived at Melrose and probably how flood vulnerable their present apartment building is. We are receiving 5 million dollars from a Community Development Block Grant for Disaster Recovery so I suspect they will want to see us focus. 10/21/13
  1. What is going to happen to Melrose Terrace? This is very unresolved at this time. The Office of Historic Preservation has said it wants this to be declared a historic property and for as many building as possible to be kept. The Secretary of the Agency of Natural Resources has indicated that she would like to see most of it demolished and returned to stream area. There have been many ideas suggested but we don’t have enough information nor have we had as many conversations as needed to determine any future for the property. First we have to have the property removed from the HUD PH program which will be done through the disposition application process. We may have to offer the property to the Resident Association for purchase. The disposition application will enable us to request Tenant Protection Vouchers for each unit. These in turn will be used for the Project Based Voucher assistance that will go into Red Clover Commons. We will also be using the Rental Assistance Demonstration Program. Through these mechanisms we will be keeping the rents as they are now just changing the subsidy system. 10/21/13
  1. Have you considered selling Melrose to the Town for a skate park? There have been lots of ideas and that is one that has been mentioned but not picked up on. 10/21/13
  1. What will happened with those left after Red Clover is filled? Those folks will remain in Melrose under the public housing program and perhaps have access to a Tenant Protection Voucher should they desire to move before Phase II is completed. It is anticipated that those remaining may be moved to the least flood prone structures on the site. This will be at BHA’s expense. 10/21/13
  1. Is Melrose going to be converted to family housing and Moore Court families moved here? That was an idea suggested when we did the site analysis study but we are no longer pursuing it because of the extensive renovations that would need to be done and what we have heard from Historic Preservation. 10/21/13
  1. What about the people in units in this (Melrose Community) Building? They didn’t have much impact from the storm. Actually there were units in this building including our offices that did get a lot of water. 10/21/13
  1. I know carpeting is out but could you put a better flooring in the new building then this institutional linoleum? Yes, we want to use a different flooring and wall color than we have in public housing. 10/21/13
  1. Could a resident take their Tenant Protection Voucher and move somewhere else? Yes, anywhere a Section 8 Voucher is accepted. 10/21/13
  1. Will utilities be included in the rent at Red Clover? Yes, our number 1 priority is to keep your rent and utility payments the same as they are now. 10/21/13
  1. Final note for the night: Please ask BHA staff any questions or concerns you have about this project. We know this is unsettling and new territory for everyone so please ask. 10/21/13
  1. 92. How will BHA decide who will move to Red Clover? This hasn’t been decided yet, two things will definitely be taken into account – seniority and the flood hazard of the current apartment. 9/24/13
  1. Will it be possible to bring our plants? Can’t answer definitely. BHA knows the importance of orienting the space to the outside and will certainly consider this. Chris has emphasized the importance of relocating the Memorial Garden. 9/24/13
  1. Will we be able to bring our animals? Yes 9/24/13
  1. Laundry rooms: Could there be at least one large washer and dryer? How about a small laundry room on each floor. This has not been decided at all. 9/24/13
  1. Could the cabinets be lowered? Already in the planning. 9/24/13
  1. Storage space: Perhaps storage bins in the garage? Keep lots of closet space. Will put them on the list of wants – no guarantee. 9/24/13
  1. What will be the size of the apartments? One bedroom, a couple 2 bedroom units. No efficiencies. The actual apartments will be larger than the ones here. 9/24/13
  1. What will happen to the 25 people who do not go to Red Clover? They will remain at Melrose until Phase II is completed and then relocate there. Phase II site search has not begun yet. Also going with Phase II are the main BHA offices and maintenance garage. Also the residents who remain should have tenant protection vouchers that will allow them to move anywhere that will accept Section 8 vouchers. BHA realizes that many residents would like to stay in West Brattleboro. 9/24/13
  1. Could I get on the transfer list for Hayes or Sam Elliot? Yes but you will not have a preference to move to another property until we are much further along in the development process for Red Clover Commons. We want to get new applicants into housing as our lists are very long. 9/24/13
  1. If resident moves somewhere else how will their rent be figured? It will still be 30% of adjusted gross income assuming they move with the Voucher. 9/24/13
  1. Will there be windows all around? These buildings will have nice windows, will have to meet the new high energy standards adopted by the state, all new accessibility guidelines – e.g. bathrooms will be big enough for person and care-giver. 9/24/13
  1. What kind of emergency alert system will there be? Not sure yet what it will be using 2014 technology and will be much better than the current system. 9/24/13
  1. Floors: Don’t want the same kind of concrete floors – too hard on the feet. 9/24/13
  1. What kind of showers/tubs will there be? No decision yet, we know the different opinions. 9/24/13
  1. How about paint? No decision, but it won’t be Public Housing beige. Housing Vermont did a great job of painting AWR and will do the same here. 9/24/13
  1. How about fire alarm system? The building will be fully sprinkled and will be hooked into the town’s fire alarms. It will meet all current life/safety codes. 9/24/13
  1. Who will be responsible for moving costs? Relocation is a very formal and detailed process. Once we know we will have relocation to do, formal letters will go to each resident with information on the relocation. BHA will be responsible for all relocation costs and efforts – including packing – for residents. If someone chooses to move before the formal notice is given, BHA will not be responsible. 9/24/13
  1. What will happen to Melrose Terrace? There is no answer yet but many people are working on this issue. BHA doesn’t want to see the community loose this as housing but it really is an unknown. 9/24/13

On 2/4/14 BHA staff: ED, Christine Hart; HCV and Grants Coordinator, David DeAngelis; Property Re-Development Manager, Jack Mahoney; Property Manager Heidi Flaherty; SASH Coordinator, Christine Hazzard; and Resident Services Coordinator, Chelsea Nunez met with 25 Melrose residents. Also present were two members of the BHA Board of Commissioners.

On 11/12/13 ED, Christine Hart; Deputy ED, Mary Houghton; Property Re-Development Manager, Jack Mahoney; Property Managers Heidi Flaherty and George Canfield and Resident Services Coordinator, Chelsea Nunez met with the Resident Advisory Board.

On October 21, 2013, the BHA Board of Commissioners devoted the first 75 minutes of their monthly meeting to a discussion of the Melrose Terrace/Red Clover Commons Project. 31 Melrose residents were present along with BHA Executive Director, Christine Hart and Deputy Director, Mary Houghton.

Resident meeting held on 9/24/13 in the Community Room at Melrose Terrace. 30 Melrose residents were present along with representatives from Housing Vermont and the Brattleboro Housing Authority.

 

 

Image courtesy of BHPinhouse | Brattleboro Housing Partnerships