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'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, 5am PST | James Brasuell | @CasualBrasuell
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Bill Damon

"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."

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