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Amherst's Housing "Needs"

Updated: Feb 25, 2020

The Nashua Regional Planning Commission (NRPC) just performed an assessment for Amherst called a Housing Needs Assessment. It was presented to the Board of Selectmen at the February 10, 2020 meeting. You can watch the video here:

The full report is located at:

I highly encourage you to watch and at least read the report summary so you can make your own decision as to what are Amherst's housing "needs".

Currently, the report is being misrepresented to further the perception that Amherst is lacking in Workforce Housing. Specifically, that Amherst would need approximately 380 additional units to accommodate its "fair share" of the region’s workforce housing needs. What those who are misrepresenting the report fail to mention is that NRPC stated "that municipalities are not required to provide a fixed number of workforce housing units" to meet state requirements.

To comply with New Hampshire’s Workforce Housing statute RSA 674:58-61, municipalities must either 1) provide realistic opportunities through zoning ordinances for the development of workforce housing or 2) must demonstrate that they already have their regional fair share of workforce housing. It is critical to note that prior to the IIHO, Amherst was in fact in compliance with the first criteria of the RSA via the Workforce Housing Ordinance (Section 4.14).

Furthermore, it is false to suggest:

  • that we will be in violation of the RSA if we eliminate the IIHO - we already had an existing ordinance that met this criteria

  • that we are required to meet the "fair share" of Workforce Housing - we are only required to have policies in place to accommodate such housing, not required to meet a maximum number.

In summary, we will remain in compliance with the RSA even if the IIHO gets removed per warrant article #40.

What is Workforce Housing. “Workforce housing” per NH RSA 674:58-61, means housing which is intended for sale and which is affordable to a household with an income of no more than 100 percent of the median income for a 4-person household for the metropolitan area. “Workforce housing” also means rental housing which is affordable to a household with an income of no more than 60 percent of the median income for a 3-person household for the metropolitan area. For Amherst, this would be $336,500 for a house, and $1,390 for rent.

Furthermore, the report states there were 418 homes sold in Amherst in 2018 and approximately 52% (218) of those homes sold below $350,000. In comparison, about 74% of all homes sold in the region were below the $350,000 price point. An obvious and general conclusion is that Amherst is comprised of a larger percentage of higher priced homes than the region as a whole, however, a sufficient number of homes available for sale were considered to be affordable by HUD standards.

Please do not be mislead by the interpretation of some that Amherst is "out of compliance" with state Workforce Housing requirements.

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Feb 26, 2020

The NRPC just weighed in on matters of Amherst’s compliance with workforce housing should IIHO be voted down. The report can be found at under News on the homepage.

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