Massachusetts Repeal 40B (2008)
|Not on Ballot|
| This measure did not or |
will not appear on a ballot
Chapter 40B is a Massachusetts state statute passed in 1969. 40B allows developers who include a certain percentage of affordable housing (25% for owner-occupied units) to appeal local zoning board denials or restrictions to the state Housing Appeals Committee (HAC).
Appeals can be initiated when the developer has been denied a comprehensive permit by the ZBA or has been issued a permit with conditions that the developer claims would make the project uneconomic.
Under 40B, affordable housing is defined as units which can be afforded by households making 70% of the local median income, have been subsidized by certain state or federal housing subsidy programs, and have long-term deed restrictions.
- For 38 years Massachusetts ranked 49th in national rankings for housing affordability
- About 53% of the few “affordable” units the state had are in danger of expiring due to deed restrictions running out.
- Two-thirds of the additions to the state’s affordable housing stock had been from repair programs, new houses for the Dept. of Mental Health/Retardation and market rate rental units that “count” towards 40B thresholds
- Very few communities had reached the “10% affordable” threshold set by 40B
- Many communities report only 3 affordable units, per town, per year
- It is exceedingly difficult for 40B to serve the neediest households unless they secure supplementary funding since 40B targets only those at the upper end of eligibility (70-80% of median income.)
- A recent sampling of 40B rental units showed that some 30% of tenants needed additional rent vouchers just to be able to afford to live in the "affordable" units.
The leading opposition of the initiative was the Citizen Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA) which advocated that 40B should remain or even be increased in size in order to create more affordable housing in Massachusetts. Some of their arguments included:
- Without 40B there would be less affordable housing
- Chapter 40B has been responsible for the production of affordable housing developments that in most cases could not have been built under traditional zoning approaches.
- Zoning boards work with developers to modify the project
- 40B has created affordable housing and serves the people who really need it.
The measure failed to submit enough signatures to qualify for the first phase of the approval process. Fewer than 34,000 signatures were submitted by proponents. Of the signatures submitted 2,442 were disqualified because the signatures sheets were not exact copies or had extraneous markings. The proponents promised to return for the next general election cycle with a larger campaign.
- Citizen Housing and Planning Association
- Repeal 40B Ballot Question Clears Hurdle, Garden City, Nov. 25, 2007
- Chapter 40B Petition, The Wanderer, Sept. 11, 2007
- Repeal Chapter 40B, ShrewS Buried, Oct. 11, 2007
- YouTube, REPEAL 40B - Inspector General testifies about the failures of the Chapter 40B Law (Affordable Housing)