Chris Kluchman, Housing Choice program director with the Dept. of Housing and Community Development, speaks about the Housing Choice Initiative at the Feb. 6 meeting of the MMA Policy Committee on Municipal and Regional Administration

A housing production bill filed by Gov. Charlie Baker and redrafted by the Legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing (H. 4290) failed to pass either chamber before the end of the formal legislative session on July 31.

However, due to the wide consensus that something needs to be done to promote housing production in the Commonwealth, the MMA and other stakeholders are hopeful that legislators will continue to work on passing a bill during the informal session, which runs through the end of the year.

The MMA and organizations representing realtors, home builders and developers formed an unlikely coalition this year to voice strong support for the governor’s bill.

While no party opposed the bill as written, some housing advocates were pushing for additional provisions. The formal session concluded before House and Senate negotiators could finish their work on a final bill.

In contrast to previous legislative proposals, the governor’s bill would not require cities and towns to adopt any particular zoning scheme, but instead would reduce the two-thirds vote threshold to a majority threshold for approval of particular zoning bylaws and ordinances focused on housing production. The MMA argued that this was a balanced and targeted tool that would let cities and towns move forward more effectively on local housing initiatives while retaining community participation in the process.

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