Housing Supply and Economic Prosperity in Massachusetts Housing Institute – June 11, 2014 Clark Ziegler, Executive Director Massachusetts Housing Partnership email@example.com
How do the Commonwealth and its cities and towns measure up against the housing needs articulated by MAPC?
We’re building much less housing than in the past and far less than our economy demands
Local resistance to multifamily housing is widespread, even though it represents two thirds of the housing we need
Many communities are permitting less multifamily housing than in the past when they need to be permitting more
Single family housing construction is getting less smart. Lot sizes are increasing in two out of three communities in metro Boston
Zoning and other anti-growth policies keep the market from meeting housing demand
The bottom line: housing supply causes us to miss out on the state’s economic potential
Most towns have “downzoned” and no longer allow housing to be built at the density of existing neighborhoods.
In the 70s and 80s federal and state grants covered 90 percent of the cost of new sewer systems and extensions. Now those systems are borne by new development or added to municipal debt.
Towns can now make land “undevelopable” by adopting local septic regulations and wetland bylaws far in excess of state standards
Voter approval of Proposition 2-1/2 in 1981 made towns hypersensitive about affect of residential development on local budgets
Frivolous appeals can add 7 or 8 years to the development process and most developers cannot afford that delay
1982 Executive Order 215 “It should be the general policy of all state agencies not to award discretionary funds to cities or towns which have been determined to be unreasonably restrictive of new housing growth.”
1983-1990 MHP launched in 1985 to work with towns to increase housing supply. More than a dozen communities found “unreasonably restrictive” of housing growth and denied state funds. More than 30 communities signed memoranda of agreement to increase housing supply as a condition of remaining eligible for state funds.
2000 Executive Order 418 State agencies “shall give priority in awarding discretionary funds to those cities and towns…that are taking steps to increase the supply of housing for individuals and families across a broad range of incomes.”
2003-2006 Local aid linked to housing production (dead on arrival) Smart Growth Zoning Act, Chapter 40R “Commonwealth Capital” distributes state funding for capital/infrastructure based on whether cities and towns are engaged in smart growth.
2007-2014 MassWorks, Compact Neighborhoods, 10,000 unit multifamily goal
What’s next? Time to think big.
Zoning 1-2-3 • Multifamily housing should be allowed by zoning in every city and town in the Commonwealth. • Cluster development should be the rule, not the exception, for single family development. • Regional planning agencies should play a stronger role and have the right to disallow zoning that undercuts regional needs.
New Rules Cities and towns that contribute to the economic growth and vitality of the Commonwealth should be guaranteed a share of the fiscal benefits of that growth. Wetlands bylaws and septic regulations need to be taken off the table as a local strategy to slow or stop growth. The state needs to be in the infrastructure business, both through financing and through improved regulation. There should be serious consequences for filing frivolous land use appeals.
Maps and additional information are available at www.massgrowth.net