Donít Like 40B? Plan for Affordable Housing

Posted by Miriam Axel-Lute on August 21, 2009

It seems that opponents of Massachusetts’s “40B” affordable housing law, which lets developers build higher density housing in unaffordable communities if they set aside affordable units, are gearing up for another petition drive to repeal it. They say this time they are “more frustrated and more organized” than last time they tried, when they didn’t get enough signatures, and they expect to succeed.

That may or may not be true. But housing advocates are worried about it, certainly, in this time of unemployment and increased demand for rental as foreclosures soar.

I certainly sympathize with residents who are frustrated with developers who don’t have to play by the rules. I generally think affordable housing developments on sensitive wetlands, for example, are a bad idea.

But rather than just saying “40B is needed so people will be able to live near good jobs in Massachusetts” (which is a damn good argument), I really wish it were politically feasible to also send a message more like this:
bq. Your problems are because your rules/zoning are exclusionary. Change them, and do some proactive planning to figure out how to let more people afford to live in your town, and you won’t be subject to 40B. Problem solved.

About the author more ¬Ľ

Miriam Axel-Lute is editor of Shelterforce and associate director of the National Housing Institute. Her email is miriam at nhi dot org.

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COMMENTS

Jon Sojka
11 Oct 09, 12:46 pm

END SNOB ZONING.

Too many cities and towns emply exclusionary and absurd zoning requirements, while the people cry about rising property taxes.  When you live in a town that has NO Industrial Base, little in the way of commercial zoning, can you really wonder why the bill falls sqaurely on the home/landowners. 

BUILD MORE APARTMENT COMPLEXES/MIXED USE DEVELOPMENTS.

Maybe our kids would stay if they didnt have to live in a 3 family tenement with old energy inneficient heating systems, appliances, and windows while paying rediculous rents.

NOT EVERYONE NEEDS A LAWN TO MOW OR A DRIVEWAY TO SHOVEL

Young singles starting out, woung families with no children, and empty nesters frequently dont need a large lot single family to maintain. But folks do like something newer and nicer.

AND FOR GOD’S SAKE…

TRAFFIC EQUALS DOLLARS

People are going to work or going to shop.
Too many people think their traffic is acceptable, but not yours.
Or they moved there because it was the woods…

NEWS FLASH!  YOU SHOULD HAVE BOUGHT THE WOODS.

LET OTHER PEOPLE DO WITH THEIR PROPERTY WHAT THEY CHOOSE.

I dont even buy most of the wetland arguments. If ya ask me half of it is based on wackjob quackery.

RARE PLANT?  COME GET IT!
SPOTTED TURTLE?  MAYBE HE WAS JUST PASSING THROUGH TO GET TO THE LAKE.

Either way, Southern New England is not much of a country setting anymore. If you want a country life move to Maine or New Hampshire or Western Mass.

In a time when Massachusetts is losing seats in the US House of Representatives we should be trying to pack more people into our state. Building Rail and Mass Transit. Encouraging expansion of our manufacturing and exporting sectors,and preparing for the dollar decline.  NOT TO MENTION….  Maybe we could actually put ourselves in a position to cut income taxes and become a truly business friendly state.

I AM FOR AGGRESSIVE ECONOMIC GROWTH IN THE COMMONWEALTH

GROWTH THAT WORKS FOR SENIORS, YOUNG FOLKS, AND NEW AMERICANS!

THE COMMONWEALTH is the GREATEST state in America, and among the world’s greatest places and people.

BE BOLD MASSACHUSETTS!

END THE CULTURE OF OBSTRUCTION!

NAYSAYERS BE GONE!

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