City submits Application for Designation as a Housing Choice Community

The Mayor sent this memo to inform the City Council that the City’s Planning Department has submitted an application for designation as a Housing Choice Community, a Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) program, initiated by Governor Baker, as an effort to meet the the housing needs of Massachusetts residents. In order to be eligible, a community has to have either 1) greater than 5% housing growth or 500 units within the past 5 years or 2) greater than 3% housing growth or 300 units within the past 5 years and 4 of 9 Housing Choice Best Practices – I think the requirement is 5 of 11 best practices. More specific information on the Housing Choice Initiative can be found here. The City has applied under the first category.

The memo details information on the number of housing units produced between 2014-2018 – a net of 649 housing units – and information on how this relates to the City’s Chapter 40B Safe Harbor Standing.  The memo suggests that the City has not met either of the two safe harbors:  affordable housing is sited on 1.5% or more of the City’s total land area – we are apparently at 1.27% and in order to meet the requirement we would need to develop affordable housing on another 17.5 acres of land AND the 10% safe harbor – a city needs to have at least 10% affordable housing units counted on the Subsidized Housing Inventory (SHI)- we are apparently at 8.3%.