January 03, 2011

40 B Editorial in the Boston Globe

Thought this was good

Those who tried to have 40B repealed acknowledge the need for some form of affordable housing program, but the present one is corrupt; the proposition’s defeat is not a reason to allow bad 40B projects.

In looking at how McMorrow describes the situation, it appears that the facts of a particular 40B development are irrelevant. One of the most important details here is that the Cambridge folks are “environmentalists, joined by members of the left-leaning Cambridge City Council.’’

Perhaps scarier still is that “state environmental officials have dismissed concerns about potential impacts on nearby wetlands and wildlife, since nearly half the project site will become permanent conservation space.’’   So it is OK to destroy part of a wetland despite the fact that wetlands are protected and can’t be conveniently broken up without deleterious impact?

McMorrow goes on to summarize the big picture: “Overly restrictive zoning, high land values, and construction costs are combining to price working families out of much of eastern Massachusetts.’’Given that this law has been in existence for 41 years and hasn’t apparently worked yet, how will it suddenly, miraculously help to make Massachusetts affordable? And, does this quote mean that he and the real estate community do not think a 40B-type law is needed in western Massachusetts?

Finally, can anyone with awareness of today’s economic reality seriously say that lack of nearby affordable housing is the most important drag on the economy (as opposed to the existence of jobs)?

Carol Levin



Anonymous said...

This was a letter to the editor not an editorial - big difference. I don't buy the contention that our housing is still expensive so 40-B hasn't worked. Does anyone seriously believe that we would have more affordable housing in the absence of 40-B?

Jahn said...

Anonymous said:

"Does anyone seriously believe that we would have more affordable housing in the absence of 40-B?"

Query, what's more expensive, a n 1,100 sq ft apt at Main and Madison Sts. that cost $503,000 to build or nice 2.5 story garrison colonial on the west side for $250,000 or for $225,000 in the north Worc area.

For you public school, modern math graduates, 503,000 is more than 250,000 and is also more than 225,000. A 2.5 story colonial is also twice the size of a 1,100 sq ft apt.

The colonail house also has off street parkign for 3 or 4 cars and too many other amenties to mention, except maybe for the granite counter tops in the poor peoples housing vs. the formica or Corian counter tops in the middle working class 2.5 story colonail housing

For those of you new to Worc, the west side or the north end of Worc are also much more desirable than Main & Madison Sts., which intersection could also be called a ghetto...years ago a.k.a. a slum

America is still the bestest place to be poor and there not a close 2nd anyhwere in the world.

Anonymous said...

Cool math lesson, thanks, Jahn.

However, the Hadley was not a 40-B development so I can't tell where you stand with regard to my original question.

It is a common mistake - not every affordable housing development uses 40-B and not every 40-B development uses government subsidy as did the Hadley.

Bill Randell said...


You are right Hadlye is not a 40B. In owrcester a developer can not claim 40B status since we are over the 10% threshold.

At the same time, they don't have to. They get anything they want anyhow.

Although Jahn's math example might not apply as a 40B example, it does apply as an example of affordable housing which is the goal of 40B.