Friday, February 4, 2005
What is Chapter 40B?
Chapter 40B is a state statute which permits developers to build higher density housing than allowed under local zoning bylaws if at least 25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. Also known as the Comprehensive Permit Law, Chapter 40B was enacted in 1969 to help address the shortage of affordable housing statewide.
How much affordable housing is required?
The state mandates that a minimum of 10% of housing in every city and town must be affordable.
How much affordable housing does Carlisle have?
• Carlisle currently has 18 affordable units or approximately 1.08% of all housing.
• To meet the 10% mandate Carlisle needs about 170 affordable units.
• Currently several projects that will produce affordable housing are underway or proposed:
- Approved: Laurel Hollow, Lowell Street, 8 units on 4 acres (2 units affordable)
- Application before BOA: Carlisle Woods, off Maple Street, 8 units on 4.4 acres (2 affordable)
- Proposed: town-owned Benfield Land, off South Street, 26 units on 46 acres (26 affordable)
- Proposed: Concord Street, 66 units on 23 acres (17 affordable).
What is affordable housing?
The housing must be restricted to lower income households who earn no more than 80% of the area median income. In the metro-west area, 80% of median income is about $68,000. Affordable housing prices in this area are between $150,000 and $180,000.
What rules must 40B applications meet?
• At least 25% of the units must be affordable.
• State regulations, such as the Wetlands Protection Act, Title 5, and all building codes, remain fully in effect under the comprehensive permit.
• Local zoning bylaws, such as two-acre zoning, may be disregarded.
• Developers (whether for-profit or nonprofit) must restrict their profit to a maximum of 20% in for-sale developments and 10% per year for rental developments.
• Up to 70% of the units can be reserved for local preference (e.g. town residents, town employees).
Who approves 40B projects?
After a project has been determined to be eligible by the state agency Mass Housing, a developer can submit an application for a "comprehensive permit" to the local Zoning Board of Appeals (BOA). The comprehensive permit includes all needed permits, such as those that would be normally granted by the Board of Health, the Planning Board, etc.
What if the BOA rejects a 40B application?
If the BOA rejects an affordable housing development, the developer may appeal the decision to the State Housing Appeals Committee (HAC), which can overrule the local decision. This right of appeal is only available in communities with less than 10% affordable housing.
How can Carlisle protect itself from 40Bs?
• A town can deny a 40B application for one year if 1) the town adopts an Affordable Housing Plan; 2) the plan is approved by the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD); 3) the town approves permits equal to at least three-quarters of one percent (0.75%) of the town's required affordable housing stock, or 12 units in Carlisle.
• Carlisle will have permanent protection from 40B once it reaches the 10% mandate.
© 2005 The