MAR & GBREB Testify in Support of H.O.M.E Bill | The Wednesday Word

homebilltestifiersOn October 20th, MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald, MAR Vice President of Government Affairs Paul Yorkis, and David Wluka of Wluka Real Estate joined representatives from the Greater Boston Real Estate Board to testify in support of the H.O.M.E. Bill before the Joint Committee on Community Development and Small Businesses at the Massachusetts State House.

S119 An Act improving housing opportunities and the Massachusetts economy, filed on behalf of the Massachusetts Association of REALTORS® and the Greater Boston Real Estate Board by Senator Michael Rodrigues (D-Westport), would make changes to Massachusetts zoning laws that would help remove barriers to housing production, keep future homeowners in the state and strengthen the Massachusetts economy.

“The production of new housing is what we need for Massachusetts to remain competitive in the region, the country and the world,” said 2015 MAR President Corinne Fitzgerald, broker-owner of FITZGERALD Real Estate in Greenfield. “We live in a great state that people want to live in, but the cost of housing is making it more and more difficult to stay here or move here. The H.O.M.E. Bill will remove the barriers that are holding back our ability to produce the housing we need.”

“The H.O.M.E. Bill seeks to meet our state’s housing needs, in turn strengthening the economy and retaining valuable human capital in Massachusetts,” said State Senator Michael J. Rodrigues (D-Westport). “This bill offers a multifaceted approach to easing the Commonwealth’s housing shortage, reducing red tape, streamlining the housing production process, and encouraging smart growth. It will make Massachusetts an even better place to live and work.”

Some Provisions of the H.O.M.E. Bill Include:

  • Smart growth by requiring that cluster development be allowed by right in residential zoning districts, at the density permitted in the underlying zoning district.
  • Multifamily housing construction by requiring that cities and towns permit multifamily development by right on at least 1.5% of the community’s developable land area that is suitable for multifamily residential.
  • Affordable in-fill housing by requiring that accessory dwelling units (“ADUs”), sometimes referred to as in-law apartments, be permitted by right in all single-family residential zoning districts.
  • Easing the burden on property owners to obtain dimensional relief for minor improvements by creating a two-tiered variance approach.
  • Replacing the super majority vote requirements for variances and special permits with a simple majority standard.
  • Creating consistent wetlands requirements by restoring uniformity across Massachusetts by prohibiting local wetlands requirements in most cases.
  • Creating consistent sewage disposal requirements by establishing a DEP review and approval process of local sewage disposal systems regulations to ensure they are scientifically-based restrictions, necessary to protect unusual local resources and do not conflict with Title V.

To read more about the H.O.M.E. Bill check out The MAR Report or MAR Government Affairs page. For more on the hearing, read the full press release.

(Please note: This blog post was prepared by MAR Legal Staff: Michael McDonagh, General Counsel; Ashley Stolba, Associate Counsel; Justin Davidson, Legislative & Regulatory Counsel; and Christine Howe, Public Policy and Finance Coordinator)