Senator Richard Moore has asked his fellow legislators to sign on as sponsors of a bill to correct some serious problems with the state’s controversial Chapter 40B housing law. The measure is supposedly intended to encourage development of affordable housing. But in reality, it is often used to help developers sweep aside local land use authority. It has failed to remedy the housing crisis in Massachusetts. In many cases, it is used merely to threaten communities with loss of control if they do not allow the developer to squeeze more luxury housing units onto some unsuitable parcel of land. Sometimes the “affordable” units that are included in a Chapter 40B development are not even permanent, and revert to market rate after a period of time.
According to a statement released by Senator Moore’s office:
“The goal of this legislation is to promote the development of truly affordable housing while closing some of the loopholes in the current law developers have been using to exploit many area towns. This bill would increase the required amount of affordable units in a 40B development from 25 to 33%. This would help 40 B developments positively impact a town’s affordable housing stock. It would also limit the type of variances granted under a comprehensive permit to density and require a direct financial subsidy from a government or semi-government agency. These steps would restore some accountability to the process while requiring that 40B projects fit in with a community’s existing development plans. Finally, this bill would work to more accurately limit the profits of 40B developments to the 20% they are allowed under the current statute.”
Citizens are urged to contact their legislators and ask them to co-sponsor Sen. Moore’s bill.