New Report on Multifamily Housing in Greater Boston highlights local zoning policies that hamper housing development

New report by policy researcher Amy Dains explores the ground situation of local zoning regulations on multifamily housing in 100 towns and cities around Boston.

Summary of the Report

Full Report

The report that was commissioned by Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance along with Citizens' Housing And Planning Association (CHAPA), Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, Massachusetts Association of Realtors, Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), MassHousing, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), was released today. 

The housing crisis in Greater Boston is at a critical point and multifamily housing can be one of the major solutions for expanding the affordable housing stock. The report assesses local zoning bylaws and ordinances and plans that are the output of political processes that happen in the context of state-level statutory requirements. Findings of the report highlight the “the paper wall,” or the numerous regulations like lot size requirements, parking minimums, age restrictions that present barriers to multifamily housing, even when it is technically permitted by zoning.

This is the second report released by Amy Dains following a report on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) in the Greater Boston region which argues that the ADU regulations are overly restrictive given the severity of housing crisis in Massachusetts.

These reports collectively make a strong case for furthering the Housing production legislation (H.1288 & S.775) that enables cities and towns to adopt certain smart growth zoning best practices related to housing development by a simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority. The legislation also mandates a Multifamily zoning requirement for cities and towns served by public transit, abutter appeals reform to discourage frivolous lawsuits to stop development and set a statewide affordable housing production goal. Click here for CHAPA's legislative priorities.