2015 State Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing Hearing Testimony

Andrew DeFranza presents at hearing on housing production bill

untitledHarborlight Community Partners Executive Director, Andrew DeFranza presented testimony on housing supply issues faced by Massachusetts’ North Shore region to the state legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing.   The September 29th hearing convened to listen to testimony on H.1111, An Act Relative to Housing Production, a proposed bill that will allow the Commonwealth to build the housing it needs to meet demand and grow its economy.

Andrew’s testimony in support of the bill included the importance of the provision on small scale production and zoning reforms for regions like the North Shore.  

Read Andrew’s Full Statement.

To view Andrew’s testimony, click here.

Housing experts and advocates from across the Commonwealth came to provide testimony of housing need and support for H.1111, including  Chrystal Kornegay, the state’s Undersecretary of Housing and Community Development, who acknowledged, on behalf of the Baker Administration, the state’s need for more housing.

It is  reported  that Massachusetts needs 17,000 new homes per year to meet housing demand and sustain our economy. An Act Relative to Housing Production (H.1111) proposed by Rep. Kevin G. Honan (D-Boston) proposes several zoning, administrative changes and financial incentives to help the Commonwealth meet demand for housing, grow our economy, and provide a range of housing options in communities across the state.    

Hightlights of Honan’s bill include:

  • Require that all Massachusetts zoning ordinances and bylaws provide for the reasonable opportunity to build multifamily housing developments.
  • Require cluster development be allowed as-of-right in all zoning districts that allow construction of detached single-family homes.
  • Allow cities and towns to regionalize land use regulation and engage in inter-local development compacts at a local option.
  • Study impacts of housing and identify ways to mitigate any potential negative net impacts on communities.
  • Expand Chapter 40S to reimburse communities for demonstrated increased school costs resulting from the production of multifamily and cluster developments.
  • Codify housing priority within MassWorks.
  • Streamline the disposition of state-owned land for the development of housing for low and moderate-income families.
  • Changes to the Housing Development Incentive Program for Gateway Cities.
  • Change the definition of market rate residential unit.  The current definition requires units to be priced for households above 110% of the area median income.
  • Change the definition of Housing development project so that 50% of the units are market rate rather than 80%.
  • Change the definition of substantial rehabilitation  to reuse  in order to give municipalities and developers more flexibility in transforming neighborhoods.
  • Set a goal for state-assisted affordable small-scale community-based rental projects that fit the local community context and can address blighted properties and/or vacant land, and help stabilize or revitalize neighborhoods.
  • A study to identify ways to redevelop underutilized or former commercial sites, known as
  • greyfields, across the Commonwealth.
  • Restore the Office of State Planning/Coordinate data collection, analysis and policy relating to the orderly growth and development of the Commonwealth.

 

Here are some media coverage links:

WBUR: https://www.wbur.org/2015/09/29/housing-production-economic-imperative

Boston Globe: https://www.bostonglobe.com/metro/regionals/south/2013/08/31/public-hearing-housing-production/zEtC6QARwCSdFs3GJ99RDL/story.html

For additional information about the hearing and H. 1111, visit CHAPA’s website     or contact Director of Public Policy Rachel Heller at rheller@chapa.org or 617-742-0820 x103.