November 25, 2012


Here are some points we discussed:

  1. RKG study is dam good.   If you do not think that it is, then point out one conclusion that you do not like and explain what is wrong with it.
  2. Affordable units are not below market rents.
Let's now talk about 40B.    The Commonwealth of Massachusetts targets each city/town to have 10% "affordable" units.  If a town or city does not have the 10% threshold, a developer can come in,  propose to build "affordable" units and basically escape the local ordinances regarding developing.  

Let me give you an example, say you have a town with only 5% "affordable" number.  A developer comes into that town and proposes "affordable" units,  that does not meet what is required by the local zoning authority (lot size, frontage,  etc).   If the local zoning tries to deny the permit, the developer, as a 40B project, can go to the Commonwealth and get approval.     Typically this does not happen, since the developer usually sits down with the town and makes a deal and then everyone calls it a "friendly" 40B.    Truth be told there is nothing "friendly" about it . 

This is an oversimplification, but it it gets the point across.   In Worcester, a developer can not claim 40B status and supercede the local zoning boards, since we already the 10%. That it a moot, since developers of "affrodable" housing, not Dodge Park, get pretty much everything they ask for locally and do not have to appeal to the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.    

Here is my point the City of Worcester can not cap "affordable" housing.   Developers can keep building all the "affordable" units that they in Worcester even though we already exceeded the 10% threshold.  The Commonwealth of Massachusetts does not have a cap for each town and city.  We can have 100% "affordable", if you want.'  

The only thing the city can do is control the purse strings!     In other words, follow the money.  This is not an arguement about the level of "affordable" units we should or should not have, but whether the City of Worcester should continue to subsidize their construction.  

I feel these monies could be used better elsewhere.  Namely let's target qualified home-owners in targeted districts with grant monies to improve their houses?    Two years ago the Chandler NRSA had approximately 15 people (at an average of about 15K per house) who took advantage of the program and invested in the owner-occupied houses.    I say we do more of that, versus spending 300,000 to construct one rental unit. 

1 comment:

Jahn said...

Bill I want to add to what you said about no automatic zoning variances for 40b housing once a locale reaches the 10% threshold. The problem in Worc is that even though we're over the 10% mark, the zoning board still basically rubber stamps variances for low income housing.

An dwhat about doing away witht plethora of non profit, low income housing builders in Worc........there are too many of them Starting with the more common names likes Main South CDC and Worc Common Grds all the way the likes of Matthew 25. Too many so called well intentioned folks looking to draw nice lifetime wages & bennies by each having their own little fiefdom.