Governor Baker recently announced a proposal to change state zoning laws to make it easier to build more housing units state-wide. The Governor’s goal is to add 135,000 housing units by 2025. To do so, he has introduced legislation that will allow municipalities to adopt certain changes to local zoning by a majority vote, instead of by super majority, as currently required by state law. The zoning changes include relaxing dimensional, density and parking requirements, as well as adopting smart growth and starter home zoning districts. The proposed legislation would also promote accessory dwelling units and the transfer of development rights to allow cluster developments.

Continue Reading

The Trump administration’s plan to lower corporate tax rates has created uncertainty in the affordable housing market by devaluing low-income housing tax credits (LIHTC).  LIHTC devaluation is casting a chilling effect on the construction of affordable housing units nationally, including a Jamaica Plain project currently under construction.  The LIHTC program, a widely utilized $8 billion

On April 25, 2014, the Boston Bar Association will host a lunch program entitled “The (Slow) Rise and (Sudden) Fall of the Chapter 40B Municipal Planning Defense.”  This program is jointly sponsored by the BBA’s Land Use and Development Committee (of which MLUM author Johanna Schneider is co-chair) and its Affordable Housing Committee.  The guest

I’m pleased to report that Governor Deval Patrick has appointed my colleague Kurt James, a director in Rackemann’s Real Estate Department, to a five-year term on the Marblehead Housing Authority Board of Commissioners.  Kurt has 25 years of experience in real estate development and finance with a particular focus on affordable housing, so he’ll be a great

Here’s the full text of Massachusetts House Bill H.1859, entitled “An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities,” which is presently before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government.  I’ll be digging into this jam-packed bill over the next few weeks and posting my thoughts on some of its key provisions.  I invite our regular MLUM readers

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) recently turned its attention back to affordable housing under the state’s comprehensive permit law, M.G.L. c. 40B, §§ 20-23 (Chapter 40B).  Since a high point in 2008, when it decided four Chapter 40B cases, the SJC has been relatively quiet on this subject.  Quiet, that is, until the past few weeks, when the

The Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) today issued its decision in Zoning Board of Appeals of Lunenburg v. Housing Appeals Committee.  This decision affirms a decision of the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) that overturned the Lunenburg Zoning Board of Appeals’ denial of a comprehensive permit for a 146-unit condominium project.  Among the topics the SJC addresses are whether non-subsidized affordable housing counts