Dear Representative,

We are writing to express our deep appreciation for the many provisions included in the Housing Bond Bill proposal from the House Ways & Means Committee (H. 4707). The historical funding authorizations proposed will be an essential component for investments in housing solutions in all corners of Massachusetts.

We are deeply grateful to Speaker Mariano, Chair Michlewitz, Chair Arciero, and so many others for their thoughtful work on this bill, and for moving this forward for debate this Wednesday. H. 4707 includes many policies that aim to support local housing initiatives and empower communities as vital partners in this effort. With more than $6 billion in bonding authorizations included in this bill, we believe these authorizations can make a significant positive impact on housing supply and affordability in the Commonwealth.

• $1 billion for expansion of the MWRA service area would be a boon to many local housing solutions in parts of Massachusetts, by providing essential water infrastructure while also assisting in remediating the scourge of PFAS contamination.

• $2 billion for desperately-needed projects at our local housing authorities for rehabilitation and modernization.

• Investments in the Affordable Housing Trust Fund and Housing Stabilization and Investment Fund will help municipalities support the preservation, rehabilitation and creation of new affordable homes.

• Codification and $175 million for the HousingWorks Infrastructure Program will help municipal infrastructure projects to help unlock housing development opportunities. Every municipality in the Commonwealth can identify housing rehab and development projects that are uniquely positioned, and this additional funding can provide much-needed assistance to move these projects into action.

• $150 million for commercial property conversions to residential units, and much, much more!

Additionally, there are a number of policy changes proposed in this bill, and since many impact municipalities, you can understand the unique perspective cities and towns would have on these matters.

• ADUs by-right: The MMA recognizes that accessory dwelling units (ADUs) can be an important tool for communities to support affordable housing solutions. However, we remain very concerned about the proposed unilateral preemption of local zoning in this bill. We strongly encourage efforts to further support municipalities in ADU development locally, which many communities already allow through existing ADU policies or through special permits. For example, this proposal would prevent any requirement for owner occupancy (in either unit), which is a standard requirement in many as-of-right ADU by-laws across Massachusetts. This would exacerbate the already significant challenges presented by investor-owned properties, but now as absent landlords. For cities and towns that have created and passed their own ADU bylaws, overriding these already-existing by-laws would present an unnecessary and frustrating challenge for communities, especially if they have already acted on this issue.

• Seasonal communities: The MMA recognizes that every city and town is different and that a number of communities have populations that rise and fall depending on the time of year. We strongly support the intent behind the Seasonal Communities Coordinating Council and encourage all efforts to get a full and dynamic perspective of these issues from municipalities across the Commonwealth.

In this letter, we welcome the opportunity to offer insights on proposed amendments during your deliberations this week:

Amendments #300 & 310 (Accessory Dwelling Units)
Please support and co-sponsor these two amendments regarding owner occupancy. Both amendments would add back a reasonable regulation for municipalities to require either of the units (the primary dwelling or the accessory dwelling) to be occupied by the owner of the property. This regulation has been included in the existing Chapter 40A definition of ADUs, and changes are unnecessary. Not including this restriction would further incentivize commercial entities purchasing local housing stock for additional profit.

Amendment #341 (ADUs Local Option)
Please support and co-sponsor this amendment, which would allow a municipality to opt-in to adopt as-of-right ADU ordinances or bylaws.

Amendments #321 and #336 (Inclusionary Zoning)
Please support and co-sponsor these provisions which amend Section 5 of Chapter 40A to allow for the adoption of inclusionary zoning by a simple majority rather than a ⅔ vote. This shift is in-line with changes in the Housing Choice legislation of 2020 and will help more municipalities channel the economic gains from rising real estate values into affordable housing.

Amendment #165 (Local Option Transfer Fee)
Please support and co-sponsor this amendment, which would allow municipalities to adopt a local real estate transfer fee. This would allow for the establishment of a local transfer fee of between .5% and 2% with additional flexibility on the threshold of purchase price for taxation. This gives all communities the opportunity to use a transfer fee in a way that makes sense for their unique circumstances.

Amendment #135 (Local Option Transfer Fee Pilot)
Please support and co-sponsor this amendment, which would create a local real estate transfer fee pilot program in up to 22 municipalities. The Executive Office of Housing and Livable Communities would then collect data and evaluate housing production, affordability, sales and municipal revenues in this pilot program and make recommendations. Transfer fees can be an important tool to fund affordable housing, and we would support the introduction of a pilot program to further evaluate its effectiveness.

Amendment #320 (Parking Minimums)
Please oppose this amendment, which would preempt local authority to regulate minimum parking requirements for multifamily housing all across Massachusetts. Cities and towns must retain the flexibility to create their own local minimum parking requirements without interference, which would undermine and confuse local ordinances and municipal authority.

Thank you for your attention to the municipal perspective on these issues and for your ongoing support of cities and towns. With your partnership, municipalities are eager to find locally-driven solutions to support housing development and affordability across the Commonwealth.

Every community in the Commonwealth feels the impacts of this overwhelming need for affordable housing. But we also know that true progress in making housing more affordable can only be achieved when the state and municipalities are working together. The MMA is committed to working with you all on this important legislation while providing needed flexibility and support to municipalities in meeting local housing goals.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to have your office contact me, MMA Senior Executive and Legislative Director Dave Koffman at, or Legislative Analyst Ali DiMatteo at at any time.

Adam Chapdelaine
MMA Executive Director & CEO