Dear Representative,

A coalition of representatives of the real estate community, business interests and municipalities strongly support the inclusion of the Housing Choice Legislation in the House’s proposed draft of An Act Enabling Partnerships for Growth (H.4879). This is a critical step that must be taken to secure our economic growth, job creation and housing stability.

Housing production is an integral part of economic development and recovery. The Housing Choices language would provide municipalities with the tools necessary to boost housing production in the Commonwealth. As our housing shortage grows, the need for these tools has never been greater.

Examples of proposed housing developments with strong support from local elected officials and planning boards that have failed to achieve a supermajority approval, often by just a few votes, can be found throughout the Commonwealth. Countless units of housing are never built and countless proposals never come forward because of the need for a supermajority vote.

The Housing Choice language allows cities and towns to adopt certain zoning best practices by a simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority. The proposed language would not require a community to bring any of these certain zoning changes forward; rather, if a community decides to bring forward these zoning changes, the legislation would change the vote necessary to implement these steps to a simple majority of the community.

The coalition is asking this language be enacted without any divisive or weakening amendments that would impose state-set zoning standards, override local decision-making, or create new avenues for costly and unnecessary litigation.

We are grateful that House leaders have taken this important step to secure Massachusetts’ economic recovery and look forward to continuing our work with all members of the Legislature to ensure this important legislation is passed.

Geoff Beckwith, Executive Director and CEO of the Massachusetts Municipal Association
Benjamin Fierro III, Counsel to the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts
Theresa Hatton, CEO of the Massachusetts Association of Realtors
James E. Rooney, President and CEO of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce
Tamara Small, CEO of NAIOP – The Commercial Real Estate Development Association
Greg Vasil, CEO of Greater Boston Real Estate Board