'Housing Choice' Approved in Massachusetts

The Housing Choice initiative, one of the country's most sweeping planning and development reforms to date, was included in a large economic development package approved by the Massachusetts Legislature earlier this week.

January 7, 2021, 5:00 AM PST

By James Brasuell @CasualBrasuell

Prospect Hill Park, Waltham, MA

Bill Damon / Flickr

"Massachusetts legislators reached a last-minute deal [earlier this week] on a nearly $627 million economic development bill that includes housing production incentives, small business grants and vocational school funding, but no sports betting legalization," reports Steph Solis.

The economic development bill includes a compromise version of the "Housing Choice" proposal sought by Governor Charlie Baker, now for multiple legislative sessions. As described by Solis, zoning changes will no longer require two-thirds approval by local officials.

According to Solis, the bill "also requires that communities served by the MBTA mandate that multi-unit housing be built within a half-mile of a station. Those units can’t have age restrictions and they have to be suitable for families with children."

Solis also gives a summary of the entire scope of the law approved by Massachusetts legislators this week: "The wide-ranging, 101-page omnibus bill would allow tenants facing no-fault evictions to get the records sealed, allot $14 million in tourism grants for businesses and regional tourism councils, offer grants to vocational schools for renovations and equipment purchases and fund other initiatives across Massachusetts."

Wednesday, January 6, 2021 in Mass Live

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