During the 2009-2010 session, Jamie filed the following pieces of legislation to promote affordable housing:
This legislation would make sensible reforms to the state’s affordable housing law, Chapter 40B, including provisions that will help communities more reasonably reach the state’s 10% affordable housing requirement.
The major components of the bill include:
- Counting 50% of the homeowner units in a 40B development as being eligible to be included toward a city or town’s affordable housing threshold. (Currently only 25% of the units are counted as affordable. This component would place 40B homeowner developments in line with 40B rental developments, in which 100% of the units are counted as affordable).
- Counting mobile homes toward a city or town’s affordable housing threshold.
- Exempting municipalities from Chapter 40B developments if a community increases affordable housing production by .5 percent in a year.
An Act Providing Incentives to Encourage Affordable Housing in Cities and Towns
Many towns and cities are reluctant to build additional affordable housing because of concerns that additional affordable housing allegedly creates municipal costs that far outweigh the property taxes generated by affordable housing. This legislation would create an incentive for cities and towns to build more affordable housing by granting additional Chapter 70 money for each affordable housing unit that includes a family with school-age children, to result in communities receiving a financial net positive for building affordable housing.
An Act Relative to Long-Term Affordability of Affordable Housing
This bill would require that when low and moderate income housing is built in a community, that it will remain affordable for a long period of time. Currently, developers often receive tax breaks to develop affordable housing, but the housing is only required to remain affordable for a relatively short period of time (ex. 15-20 years). This bill would help low income families stay in their homes and preserve the stock of affordable housing in our state.
An Act Relative to Community Preservation Act Expenditures to Provide Housing for Low and Moderate Income Community Residents
This bill clarifies that Community Preservation Act (CPA) funds can be used by municipalities to pay for direct rental assistance and down payment assistance to qualified individuals and families. This has been the practice in many communities, but the language is not as clear as it should be.
An Act Allowing Cities and Towns to Impose Mitigation Fees on Certain Housing Developments
This bill would allow cities and towns to impose mitigation fees on any housing development that negatively impacts the city or town by increasing traffic density, sewerage and other problems.
An Act Relative to Creating a Statutory Housing Restriction and Providing Remedies Related to Statutory Housing
This bill is a creative response to the difficulties faced by municipalities in crafting durable affordable housing restrictions that assure properties will remain affordable for persons of modest means through successive transactions and as the value of real estate goes up. The bill will create in the General Laws an “estate in land” (to be known as the Statutory Housing Covenant) that would limit the property to a certain value (the affordable value) for use as owner-occupied affordable housing. As with other covenants established in Chapter 183 (such as mortgage covenants) use of the statutory housing restriction would not be mandatory, but would provide a new tool that may eventually lead to more uniformity in housing restrictions. In addition, the bill provides protections for mortgagees who lend on the affordable value.
An Act Relative to Historic Residential Tax Credit
While the current Historic Tax Credit program in Massachusetts is limited to the rehabilitation of properties for commercial use, this bill would extend a modest tax credit program for the rehabilitation of historic residences and barns. The legislation allows a tax credit of up to 20% of project costs with a maximum amount to be taken per year ($500 maximum in the first year). Eligible properties must be approved by the Massachusetts Historical Commission and must be registered on the National or State Register of Historic Places. The purpose of this legislation is to encourage homeowners to carefully rehabilitate historic residential landmarks which add much character to the culture and landscape of Massachusetts.