Chapter 40B

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WHAT IS 40B?

Enacted in 1969, 40B is a state statute, the Comprehensive Permit Law. It enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals (ZBA) to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 25% of units have long-term affordability restrictions.

WHAT IS THE INTENT OF CHAPTER 40B?

In 1969 officials recognized that zoning practices play a role in driving up housing costs and inhibiting the broad distribution of affordable housing.

In 2004, the intent of Chapter 40B is to address the shortage of affordable housing statewide by reducing unnecessary barriers created by local zoning and other restrictions.

BENEFITS OF CHAPTER 40B

  • Increases the supply of low/moderate income housing
  • Improves regional distribution of low/moderate income housing
  • Allows a municipality to have town boards and committees work cooperatively and simultaneously with the local ZBA to structure a project with at least 25% affordable units

WHAT ARE THE BASIC REQUIREMENTS FOR 40B DEVELOPMENTS?

  • The project must have a Project Eligibility Letter issued by a state or federal subsidy program
  • The project developer must have site control
  • Owner of Records, Purchase & Sale, or Option to Buy
  • At least 25% of the units in the proposed project must be restricted over time for rental by or sale to households at or below 80% of area median income
  • Profit is limited: the development entity must be a public agency, a nonprofit organization, or a limited dividend organization

WHAT IS A "PROJECT ELIGIBILITY LETTER"?

  • Request of the developer for subsidy
  • Notification from developer to DHCD of application for subsidy
  • Allows 30-day comment period to the subsidizing agency
  • “Ticket” to file a comprehensive permit

Preliminary approval of the site from the Subsidizing Agency
o MassHousing
o Department of Housing & Community Development
o Federal Home Loan Bank
• New England Fund member banks
• Oversite roles is through MassHousing

WHY ARE THE NOTICE CHANGES NECESSARY?

  • Allows stakeholders to provide feedback regarding the proposal early in process
  • Allows the community to obtain technical assistance at the earliest opportunity, so that it may make informed decisions
  • Allows the community to designate an individual to informally discuss the project outside the ZBA hearing process

APPLICATION REQUIREMENTS – WHAT SHOULD BE INCLUDED?

  • Site Approval Letter/Eligibility Letter
  • Evidence of Site Control
  • Preliminary Site Development Plans
  • Site Conditions Report
  • Preliminary Drawings
  • Building Tabulation
  • Subdivision Plan (if applicable)
  • Utilities Plan
  • Requested Exemptions