Senate Passes Economic Development Bill with Many Housing Provisions

On July 29th, Massachusetts Senate passed its Economic Development Bill, S.2842An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth.

The bill contains important provisions that are critical to creating and preserving affordable housing in Massachusetts, supporting our economy, and addressing inequities in housing. These provisions include:

  • Housing Choice sections to help cities and towns approve smart growth zoning and affordable housing by lowering the required vote from a two-thirds to a simple majority;
  • Mandate at least one multifamily zone by right in MBTA communities 
  • Address Frivolous Abutter Appeals by establishing a requirement of cash bond
  • Creates a commission to set study ways to meet the housing production goal of 427,000 new units of housing by 2040 with at least 85,400 affordable for low-income residents.
  • Creates a process for appointment of Tenant Board Member to housing authority boards in towns
    • Expands the Housing Development Incentive Program (HDIP) by $5 million and adds a requirement that at least: (A) 10% of rental units for persons whose income is not more than 60% AMI; or (B) owner-occupied units for persons whose income is not more than 80% AMI.
  • Directs EOHED and Division of Banks to recommend mortgage relief and forbearance for residential and commercial property owners who rely on the rental income.
  • Sealing of court records of people with "No fault eviction" trials and minors to prevent discrimination in housing search
  • A residential property tax exemption city or town that is affordable for, rented and occupied by, households at AMI

CHAPA thanks Senate President Spilka, Senate Ways and Means Chair, Chairman Rodrigues, Housing Committee Chair Sen. Crighton, and members of the Senate in recognizing the role of housing in economic development and supporting this bill and voting in support of the bill. 

The House and Senate versions of the bill will now be reconciled through a Conference committee before being sent to the Governor for his signature.