Monday, January 9, 2023

CommonWealth Magazine: "Overcoming the restrictions on multi-family housing"

"CITIES AND TOWNS of Greater Boston have a long history of using zoning to restrict development of multi-family housing that might accommodate families with children. The systematic restrictions have disadvantaged multi-generational households seeking homes in condo or apartment buildings. The restrictions have also undermined the housing market’s dynamism and its ability to meet the region’s housing needs.

In response to these problems, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts adopted the MBTA Communities zoning law requiring cities and towns served by the MBTA to zone for transit-oriented multi-family housing “without age restrictions” and “suitable for families with children.” Once implemented, the reform should enable the market to meet the needs of diverse households.

For decades, municipalities have been limiting development of family-suitable apartments and condos through a few zoning mechanisms, including age-restrictions for occupants (typically for residents who are at least 55 years old), bedroom restrictions, and discretionary approval processes. I studied these practices in a 2018 survey of zoning bylaws and ordinances in 100 cities and towns across Greater Boston."
Last of the 5 part series

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