WILLIAMSTOWN -- Members of the town's Affordable Housing Committee (AHC) this week expressed optimism over the town possibly supporting other entities set on constructing affordable housing on Williams College land.
But members also expressed frustration that determining the conservation status of the Burbank and Lowry properties on Stratton Road could be delayed again.
"I think this needs to be clarified," member Charles Bonenti said at the Tuesday night meeting. "It just leaves us in limbo."
Selectmen voted during a meeting Monday to withdraw their request that the properties be removed from the Conservation Commission's care so that affordable housing there could be studied.
After much discussion Tuesday, AHC members chose not to send a request to the commission, but decided to focus their efforts elsewhere.
"Given the time frames to meet the need of people in The Spruces, Burbank and Lowry are not going to fill that bill," member Van Ellet said. "Purchasing private property, doing small developments on top of the Williams development, is much more likely to meet the needs of people willing to stay in Williamstown in four to five years."
The committee is also moving toward developing two town-owned brownfield sites -- 59 Water St. and the former Photech Mill on Cole Avenue.
Members voted to accept a proposal from a team of consultants that will advise them on creating requests for proposals (RFPs) for the two sites, which would aim to elicit a response from affordable housing developers.
"Connie Kruger and Jennifer Goldson are independent consultants that have teamed up," Chairwoman Cathy Yamamoto said.
Kruger and Goldson will meet with the committee in early September, she said, to discuss both sites and the scope of the work. In addition, both will attend public hearings the committee will hold for abutters and other town residents.
Members accepted the proposal, but will consider the price at a future meeting.
"We don't know the cost, it is contained in a sealed bid that we have not opened," Yamamoto said.
Yamamoto will meet with member Leigh Short and Town Manager Peter Fohlin to open the sealed bid and bring the price back to the committee.
In other business:
* Yamamoto said environmental remediation at Photech continues. Tighe and Bond recently performed soil sampling on the bank of the Hoosic River and found additional heavy metal contamination. Roughly $2.5 million of local, state and federal funds has been spent cleaning up the site since the early 2000s, Yamamoto said.
* Ansari told members the second annual Spruces cleanup day will be held the weekend of Aug. 31 and will have over 100 Williams College students cleaning up the site.
To reach Edward Damon,