Skip to Content


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1563         FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 72

 

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts

_________________

PRESENTED BY:

James B. Eldridge

_______________

To the Honorable Senate and House of Representatives of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in General
              Court assembled:

              The undersigned legislators and/or citizens respectfully petition for the adoption of the accompanying bill:

An Act relative to affordable housing community planning.

_______________

PETITION OF:

 

Name:

District/Address:

James B. Eldridge

Middlesex and Worcester


SENATE DOCKET, NO. 1563        FILED ON: 1/18/2013

SENATE  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  .  No. 72

By Mr. Eldridge, a petition (accompanied by bill, Senate, No. 72) of James B. Eldridge for legislation relative to affordable housing community planning.  Community Development and Small Businesses. 


The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
 

_______________

In the Year Two Thousand Thirteen

_______________

 

An Act relative to affordable housing community planning.
 

              Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives in General Court assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:
 

              SECTION 1. Section 15 of chapter 19 of the General Laws, as appearing in the 2010 Official Edition, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

              (k) to collect and maintain information on the number of group home units in each community and report such information, including the location of such group home units, to the department of housing and community development on an annual basis. Such location shall be held by the department of housing and community development subject to chapter 66A.

              SECTION 2. Subsection (b) of section 15 of chapter 19B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following sentence:—

              The department of developmental services shall report the number of group home units in each city or town on an annual basis to the department of housing and community development. The department of developmental services shall also report the location of such group homes to the department of housing and community development. Such location shall be held by the department of housing and community development subject to chapter 66A.

              SECTION 3. Section 3 of chapter 23B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following section:-

              (w) count the number of low or moderate income housing units, as defined by chapter 40B and the accompanying department of housing and community development regulations, in each city or town in the commonwealth on a biennial basis.

              SECTION 4. Said chapter 23B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 5A and inserting in place thereof the following section:-

              Section 5A.  There shall be within the department a housing appeals committee, consisting of 3 members to be appointed by the director, 1 of whom shall be an officer or employee of the department; and 4 members to be appointed by the governor for terms of 1 year each, 2 of whom shall be members of a board of selectmen and 2 of whom shall be members of a city council or similar governing body of a city. The members shall serve for terms of 1 year each.  The director shall designate the chairman of the housing appeals committee. A member of the committee shall receive no compensation for such member’s services, but shall be reimbursed by the commonwealth for all reasonable expenses actually and necessarily incurred in the performance of such member’s official duties. Said committee shall hear all petitions for review filed under section 22 of chapter 40B. A quorum shall consist of 4 committee members, at a minimum, with at least 1 selectperson and 1 city council member, and shall preside over hearings. The director shall establish all other rules and regulations for the conduct of said hearings.

              The department shall provide such space and clerical and other assistance as the committee may require.

                            SECTION 5. Chapter 40B of the General Laws, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out section 20 and inserting in place thereof the following 5 sections:—

                            Section 20. As used in this section and in sections 20A to 23, inclusive, the following words shall, unless the context clearly requires otherwise, have the following meanings:—

              “Affordable housing threshold”, each city or town shall have a minimum affordable housing threshold such that at least 10 per cent of year round housing units, as enumerated in the most recent federal decennial census, meet the requirements for inclusion on the subsidized housing inventory or on sites comprising 1.5 per cent or more of total land area zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use in a manner consistent with sections 20 to 23, inclusive.

                            “Committee”, the housing appeals committee.

                            “Consistent with local needs”, shall have the meaning set forth in section 20A.

                            “Department”, the department of housing and community development.

                            “Family”, 2 or more persons who live or will live regularly in a unit as their primary residence whose income and resources are available to meet the family’s needs and who are either related by blood, marriage, operation of law or who have otherwise evidenced an inter-dependent relationship.

                            “Group home units”, community housing units or beds which are located in a non-institutional setting; provided, however, that each group home unit shall serve only 1 client of the department of developmental services and the department of mental health.

                            “Local board”, any town or city board of survey, board of health, planning board, conservation commission, building inspector or the officer or board having supervision of the construction of buildings or the power of enforcing municipal building laws, or city council or board of selectmen or other boards exercising power specified locally.

                            “Local program”, a housing program established and administered by a city, town or county that has been authorized and approved by the department.

                            “Low or moderate-income households”, individuals or families living in a housing unit with combined incomes not higher than 80 per cent of the median income for the county in which the housing unit is located or an area as defined by the United States Office of Management and Budget, whichever is lower, as determined by the United States department of housing and urban development or, in the absence of such a determination, by the department.

                            “Low or moderate-income housing”, any year round housing subsidized by the federal or state government under any program, or subsidized by a local government under a local program authorized and approved by the department, to produce housing which serves low or moderate-income households.

                           “Subsidizing agency”, any agency or entity of state, federal or local government which subsidizes the construction or substantial rehabilitation of low or moderate-income housing and any housing authority acting under clause (m) of section 26 of chapter 121B.

              “Subsidy”, the provision of: direct financial assistance; indirect financial assistance including insurance, guarantees, or other means; in kind assistance; technical assistance; or of other supportive services through a federal, state or local housing program to assist the construction of low or moderate-income housing.

                            “Uneconomic”, any condition brought about by any single factor or combination of factors to the extent that such condition makes it impossible for a public agency or nonprofit organization to proceed in building or operating low or moderate income housing without financial loss, or for a limited dividend organization to proceed and still realize a reasonable return in building or operating such housing within the limitations set by the subsidizing agency on the size or character of the development or on the amount or nature of the subsidy or on the tenants, rentals and income permissible, and without substantially changing the rent levels and units sizes proposed by the public, nonprofit or limited dividend organizations.

                            Section 20A. Decisions and requirements by the planning board shall be considered consistent with local needs if they are reasonable in view of the regional need for low or moderate income housing considered with the number of low and moderate income persons in the city or town affected and the need to protect the health or safety of the occupants of the proposed housing or of the residents of the city or town, to promote better site and building design in relation to the surroundings, or to preserve open spaces and the quality of drinking water supply and water resources; and if such decisions and requirements are applied as equally as possible to both subsidized and unsubsidized housing. Decisions and requirements shall also be deemed consistent with local needs when imposed by a planning board after comprehensive hearing in a city or town where:

                            (1) low or moderate-income housing exists which is at least 10 per cent of the year round housing units reported in the most recent federal decennial census of the city or town; or on sites comprising 1.5 per cent or more of total land area zoned for residential, commercial or industrial use;

                            (2) the development is large scale for the city or town in which it is proposed. A proposed development shall be large scale if the application for a comprehensive permit involves construction of housing units equal to or greater than 2 per cent of all housing units in the city or town, provided further that the permit involves construction of housing units not greater than 300; or

                            (3) the city or town has made recent progress toward attaining its affordable housing threshold; provided, that recent progress toward its affordable housing threshold shall mean that the number of housing units that have been created during the 12 months prior to the date of the comprehensive permit application and that are eligible to be included on the subsidized housing inventory are equal to or greater than 2 per cent of the city or town’s total year round housing units as enumerated in the most recent federal decennial census; or

                            (4) 12 months has not elapsed between the date of application for a comprehensive permit and the date of the most recent pendency of a prior application for a variance, special permit, subdivision or other approval related to construction on the same land if that prior application included no provision for low or moderate income housing, provided that any such application shall not be considered a prior application if it concerns only insubstantial changes to an existing use;

                            (5) the city or town has adopted an affordable housing plan approved by the department under which there is an increase in its number of low or moderate-income housing units eligible for inclusion on the subsidized housing inventory by at least .5 per cent of total year round housing units every calendar year until housing needs are met under this chapter, subject to paragraphs (a) and (b).

                            (a) The affordable housing plan shall be based upon a comprehensive housing needs assessment, which shall include an analysis of the most recent federal decennial census data of the city or town’s demographics and housing stock, development constraints as well as of the city or town’s ability to mitigate them, and the city or town’s infrastructure.

                            (b) The affordable housing plan shall address the matters set out in regulations promulgated by the department.

                            (c) Upon submission to the department, the plan shall also be submitted to the regional planning district, commission or council of governments within such project is located.  The district, commission, or council of governments shall be as established under this chapter or the Martha’s Vineyard Commission, as described in chapter 831 of the acts of 1977, the Nantucket Planning and Economic Development Commission, as described in chapter 561 of the acts of 1973, the Cape Cod Commission, as described in chapter 716 of the acts of 1989, the Franklin Regional Council of Governments, as described in chapter 151 of the acts of 1996, or the Northern Middlesex Council of Governments, as described in chapter 420 of the acts of 1989, or any other regional planning district hereafter established by the general court.  The regional planning district shall have 30 days to comment to the department on the implications of the plan for housing need, growth and development concerns and other relevant matters. Within 90 days after its submission to the department by a city or town’s chief executive officer, the department shall approve the plan if it meets the requirements in this section, otherwise, it shall disapprove the plan. The department shall notify the city or town of its decision to either approve or disapprove a plan in writing. If the department disapproves a plan, the notification shall include a statement of reasons for the disapproval. A city or town that originally submitted a plan that had been disapproved may submit a new or revised plan to the department at any time. A city or town may amend its plan if the department approves the amendment. If the department fails to mail notice of approval or disapproval of a plan or plan amendment within 90 days after its receipt, the plan or plan amendment shall be deemed to be approved.

                            (d) The department shall certify annually whether a city or town is in compliance with an approved plan. The department shall determine whether a city or town is in compliance within 30 days of receipt of a city or town’s request for such a certification. A city or town shall be in compliance if it has reached the benchmarks established in its approved plan and has made all changes necessary to accommodate future planned development. If the department determines the city or town is in compliance with its plan, the certification shall be retroactive to the date the certification was requested. Provided further, if a city or town fails to make a good faith effort to achieve the goals established in the approved plan and as documented on the subsidized housing inventory the city or town shall not be in compliance with its plan and shall submit a new plan for certification by the department.

                            (e) Units which were created and which became eligible to be counted toward a city or town’s affordable housing threshold between August 1, 2002 and December 31, 2002 shall be credited toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold for the first year of planned production under an approved affordable housing plan, regardless of the date the plan is submitted to or certified by the department. An approved plan shall take effect for the purpose of the definition of consistent with local needs in this section only when the department certifies that the city or town has approved permits resulting in an initial annual increase in its low-or moderate-income housing units of at least .5 per cent of total year round housing units in accordance with its plan. It shall be the responsibility of the city or town to request such certification from the department. Once the department has made such a certification of initial compliance and subsequent annual certifications of compliance:—

                            (1) the board may, in its discretion, deny, or approve with conditions, any comprehensive permit applications for the period of 1 year from any certification, and such denial or approval with conditions shall be deemed consistent with local needs;

                            (2) the board may deny or approve with conditions any comprehensive permit applications for the period of 2 years from any certification, if, in the year it was certified, the city or town has increased its low or moderate-income housing stock by at least .5 per cent of total year round housing units in a manner consistent with the plan;

                            (3) the board may, in its discretion, deny, or approve with conditions, any comprehensive permit applications for the period of 3 years from any certification, if, in the year it was certified, the city or town has increased its low or moderate-income housing stock by at least 1 per cent of total year round housing units in a manner consistent with the plan; or

                            (4) the board has approved 3 or more comprehensive permits, at least 3 of which contain 20 or more housing units each within 12 months preceding the filing of an application for a comprehensive permit and those permits have become final. The board may choose among multiple applicants which comprehensive permits will be accepted.

                            A developer that has requested a zoning change and that request has been accepted by the town meeting or the city council may not seek a 40B approval for 1 year following the zoning change.

              (f) The board may deny a comprehensive permit application that is inconsistent with the city or town’s approved plan where the city or town offers a comparable site location for which the board will grant a comprehensive permit.

                            Section 20B. (a)(1) To be eligible to submit an application for a comprehensive permit or to file or maintain an appeal before the committee, the applicant and the project shall fulfill the following jurisdictional requirements:–

                            (i) The applicant shall be a public agency, a nonprofit organization, or be, or agree to become, limited dividend organization. An applicant shall satisfy the limited dividend organization requirement if the owner of the project stipulates in writing to execute a regulatory agreement with a subsidizing agency which limits the owner’s return on building or operating the project to the amounts set by the subsidizing agency or program if a comprehensive permit is issued. Such regulatory agreement shall be recorded or filed prior to the beginning of construction of the land records with the registry of deeds or land court in the registry district or district office of the land court in which the project is located;

                            (ii) the project shall be fundable by a subsidizing agency under a low and moderate-income housing subsidy program;

                            (iii) the applicant shall control the site; and

                            (iv) the proposed development shall contain not less than 25 per cent of its total housing units as units affordable to low or moderate-income households, or in the alternative a proposed development may contain not less than 20 per cent of its total housing units as affordable to households whose income does not exceed 50 per cent of the area median income; provided, further, that the inclusion of commercial, recreational or other land uses which are in conjunction with the housing development shall not preclude eligibility.

                            (2) Fundability shall be established by submission of a written determination of project eligibility by a subsidizing agency:

                            (i) A determination of project eligibility shall include: (A) the name and address of the applicant; (B) the address of the site and site description; (C) the number and type, either homeownership or rental, of housing units proposed; (D) the name of the housing program or programs under which project eligibility is sought; and (E) relevant details of the particular project if not mandated by the housing program, including the percentage of units for low or moderate-income households, income eligibility standards, the duration of use restrictions requiring occupancy by low or moderate-income households, and the limited dividend status of the developer;

                            (ii) a determination of project eligibility shall make the following findings: (A) that the proposed project appears generally eligible under the requirements of the housing programs, subject to final review of eligibility and to final approval; (B) that the subsidizing agency has performed an on-site inspection of the site and has reviewed pertinent information submitted by the applicant; (C) that the proposed housing design and density are generally appropriate for the site on which it is located, taking into account surrounding land uses, proximity to transportation, services and public utilities, and design to minimize land use impacts; (D) that the proposed project appears financially feasible within the housing market in which it will be situated, based on comparable rentals or sales figures; (E) that an initial pro forma has been reviewed and the project appears financially feasible on the basis of estimated development costs; and (F) that the developer of the proposed project meets the general eligibility standards of the housing program or programs.

                            (iii) In addition to the foregoing, a subsidizing agency shall consider the following in making a determination of project eligibility; overall density and size; environmental impact, including impacts on watersheds, rivers, and water bodies, wildlife habitat and existing land uses; consistency with principles of smart growth, including without limitation land use protections set forth in the open space and recreation plans adopted by the planning board of the municipalities, or by the town meeting or city council and approved by the executive office of energy and environmental affairs; impact on historical resources; the impact of other pending applications for housing development; and other local concerns of the city or town where the project is located.

                            (iv) Within 10 days of filing of its application for a determination of project eligibility with a subsidizing agency for preliminary approval of a project, the applicant shall serve written notice upon the director of the department.

                            (v) Within 10 days of filing the application for a determination of project eligibility the applicant shall provide written notice and a copy of such application to the chief executive officer of the city or town where the project is located and to the members of the general court representing such city or town. The applicant shall also provide written notice of the application to the board of zoning appeals, board of health, conservation commission, water and sewer district, fire and police. Within 30 days after such notice, the chief executive officer or designee of the chief executive officer may schedule and hold a meeting at a location within the city or town where the project is located. The meeting shall be chaired by the city or town’s chief executive officer or designee and shall be attended by the applicant or its representative. Representatives from local boards may attend the meeting and provide written comment. The applicant and the city or town representatives shall informally discuss the preliminary proposal to develop an understanding of the proposal and to respond to concerns raised in an effort to achieve an outcome that meets the needs of the city or town as well as the applicant, if necessary.  In addition, a representative from a public or quasi-public housing agency, or a regional planning agency within the regional planning district or its designee knowledgeable with respect to chapter 40B may provide technical assistance on topics including, but not limited to, site design and density, open space, marketing, use restrictions, allowable costs and profit limitations. Following the close of the meeting, the chief executive officer of the city or town, local boards, and the regional planning district may issue written comments within 14 days to the subsidizing agency.

                            (vi) Within 10 days of receipt of a written determination of project eligibility from the subsidizing agency, the applicant shall send by certified mail a copy of that determination upon the director of the department.

                            (vii) An applicant that has obtained a determination of project eligibility shall be presumed to be eligible to submit an application for comprehensive permit or to file or maintain an appeal before the committee. Nothing in this section shall be deemed to confer upon any city or town, or any of its boards, committees, commissions or officials, or upon any other person the right to appeal or judicial review in any form the determination of project eligibility by the subsidizing agency, it being intended that the rights of appeal conferred by sections 21 and 22 shall be the exclusive remedy for any party aggrieved by the issuance or denial of any comprehensive permit under this section.

                            (viii) If project funding is provided through a non-governmental entity, a public or quasi-public entity authorized by the department shall make the determination of project eligibility. The designated entity that issued the project eligibility determination shall administer the project thereafter as specified in program guidelines issued by the department.

                            (3) A showing that the applicant, or any entity 50 per cent or more of which is owned by the applicant, owns a 50 per cent or greater interest, legal or equitable, in the proposed site, or holds any option or contract to purchase the proposed site, shall be considered by the board or the housing appeals committee to be conclusive evidence of the applicant’s interest in the site.

                            (4) No determination of project eligibility shall be issued for a project, if a meeting has occurred, before the close of the subsequent comment period, or sooner than 45 days after the filing of its application with the subsidizing agency for preliminary approval of the project. A determination of project eligibility shall be for a particular financing program or programs. An applicant may proceed under alternative financing programs if the application to the board or appeal to the committee so indicates and if full information concerning the project under the alternative financing arrangements is provided.

                            (5) Failure of the applicant to fulfill any of the requirements in this section may be raised by the housing appeals committee, the board, or a party at any time, and shall be cause for dismissal of the application or appeal. No application or appeal shall be dismissed until at least 60 days after the applicant received notice of the application’s failure.

                            (b) In order to appeal to the committee, an applicant shall have applied to the board for a comprehensive permit under section 21 and shall have been denied such permit or shall have been granted such permit with conditions which it alleges make the building or operation of such housing uneconomic.

                            (c) (1) A city or town may record progress towards its affordable housing threshold as documented in the subsidized housing inventory in the following manner:

                            (i) (a) if at least 25 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households, 100 per cent of housing units within the development shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold, but if fewer than 25 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households, only those units which serve low or moderate-income households shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold; or (b) if at least 20 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve households with household income at or below 50 per cent of area median income, 100 per cent of housing units within the development shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold but, fewer than 25 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households, only such restricted units shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (ii) (a) if at least 25 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households, 2 times the actual number of such restricted units, not to exceed the total number of homeownership units authorized by the permit shall be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold or (b) if at least 20 per cent of housing units within a development serve households earning at or below 50 per cent of area median income, 2 times the actual number of units serving such households, not to exceed the total number of homeownership units authorized by the permit shall be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold, but if fewer than 25 per cent of housing units within a development are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households, only such units which are restricted to serve low or moderate-income households shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (iii) any community housing, as defined in chapter 44B, which is subject to a use restriction requiring occupancy by low or moderate income households, provided further, that such housing payment exclusive of utilities shall not exceed 30 per cent of monthly income of a household at or below 80 per cent of area median income, adjusted for household size, shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (iv) any accessory apartment which is approved under a city or town’s ordinance or by-law and is occupied by persons of low or moderate income; provided further, that such rental payment exclusive of utilities shall not exceed 30 percent of monthly income of a household earning at or below 80 percent of area median income, adjusted for household size, shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold. Each such accessory apartment unit shall be subject to a use restriction, which may be revocable upon the sale of the principal residence. Each city or town shall certify annually the number of such accessory apartments within its borders;

                            (v) all group home units in each city or town as reported annually by the department of mental health and the department of developmental services to the department shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (vi) housing units created under a local program or subsidy or which qualify as local initiative units pursuant to regulations promulgated by the department and restricted to serve low or moderate income households as defined in this chapter shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold as documented on the subsidized housing inventory;

                            (vii) low or moderate income housing created under section 60 of chapter 40 and subject to a use restriction provided; further, that such housing payment exclusive of utilities shall not exceed 30 per cent of monthly household income of a household earning at or below 80 per cent of area median income shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (viii) if housing units were developed to serve low or moderate income households and the use restriction has expired as a result of refinancing or operation of law or otherwise, only those housing units that continue to serve low or moderate-income households; provided further, that if such units were constructed under a comprehensive permit under chapter 40B they shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold;

                            (ix) 50 per cent of the homes in a community, as defined by section 32Q of chapter 140, shall be eligible to be included toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold as documented on the subsidized housing inventory; and

                            (x) 75 per cent of assisted living units as defined under the General Laws, requiring an entrance deposit and a monthly fee shall be considered as rental housing units.

                            (d) The department shall maintain an inventory of low or moderate income housing units. Such inventory shall be published biennially; provided further, that such inventory shall be updated for a specific city or town upon request by such city or town supported by the evidence of such inventory. Housing units authorized by a comprehensive permit or special permit which authorizes the creation of low or moderate income housing subject to a use restriction shall be eligible to be included toward a city or town’s affordable housing threshold as recorded on the subsidized housing inventory when such comprehensive permit or special permit becomes final, provided that housing units for which building permits have not been issued within 1 year of the date when such comprehensive permit or special permit became final shall no longer be eligible to be counted toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold until the building permits have been issued. The department may for good cause waive such time requirement. Low or moderate income housing units not authorized under such comprehensive permit or special permit shall be eligible to be counted toward the city or town’s affordable housing threshold when a building or occupancy permit is issued.

                            Section 20C. The Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund board, as established by section 35 of chapter 405 of the acts of 1985, or its designee, shall make technical assistance available to local zoning boards of appeal to assist in their review of applications for comprehensive permits. No subsidizing agency shall issue a determination of project eligibility or site approval unless a fee to defray the costs of such technical assistance program has been collected from the applicant and remitted to the Massachusetts Housing Partnership Fund board in accordance with a fee schedule adopted by the department. Such fee shall be payable upon the filing of a comprehensive permit application.

                            Section 20D. The department shall promulgate regulations and establish programs, policies, guidelines and necessary fee schedules to implement sections 20 to 23, inclusive, of this chapter. The department shall make available planning and housing development information and technical assistance to assist cities and towns in reaching their affordable housing threshold as defined in this chapter.

                            SECTION 7. Section 21 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 3 and 4, the following words: “board of appeals, established under section twelve of chapter forty A” and inserting in place thereof the following words:- planning board, established under section 70 of chapter 41.

              SECTION 8.   Said section  21 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby further amended by striking out, in lines 5, 9, 17, 20 and 24 the words “board of appeals” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- planning board.

                            SECTION 9. Section 22 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 7 and 10, the words “board of appeals” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- planning board.

                            SECTION 10. Section 23 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by striking out, in lines 4, 9, 23 and 30, the words “board of appeals” and inserting in place thereof, in each instance, the following words:- planning board.

                            SECTION 11. The first paragraph of said section 23 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by inserting after the first sentence the following sentence:—

                            The committee shall receive evidence of and shall consider the following matters: (1) a city or town’s master plan, comprehensive plan or community development plan, and (2) the results or good faith effort of the city or town’s efforts to implement such plans.

              SECTION 12. Said section 23 of said chapter 40B, as so appearing, is hereby amended by adding the following paragraph:-

              There shall be a bureau of certified public accountants housed in the department of housing and community development to review cost certification and profit limitation requirements for developments constructed through a comprehensive permit as detailed in this chapter. This bureau shall also conduct periodic audits of developers’ financial statements.

                            SECTION 13. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, no application for a comprehensive permit filed under sections 20 through 23 of chapter 40B of the General Laws before the effective date of this act shall be denied as a result of changes under this act.

                            SECTION 14. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to study the opportunity to increase the availability of housing for extremely low to moderate-income families and individuals in the commonwealth by prioritizing the redevelopment of brownfield sites and commercial areas for residential purposes. The commission shall consist of 3 members of the senate, 3 members of the house of representatives, 1 from each branch shall serve as co-chairmen, the director of housing and community development or the director’s designee, the director of Massachusetts Development Finance Agency or the director’s designee; and 5 persons to be appointed by the governor, 1 of whom shall be a representative from Citizen’s Housing and Planning Association, Inc., 1 of whom shall be a representative of the Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Homebuilders Association, and 1 of whom shall be a representative from the Massachusetts Municipal Association.

              The commission shall also study the most appropriate punishment for developers that provide false information on cost certification forms or for department audits. The commission shall be consist of 3 members of the senate; 3 members of the house of representatives; 2 representatives appointed by the department of housing and community development, 2 representatives appointed by the Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, and 2 members of a developer association selected by the chairman of the joint committee on housing. The commission shall carefully balance the need for developer accountability with the need for effective developer incentives in order to encourage affordable housing production. The commission shall report its findings to the senate president and house speaker within 1 year of the effective date of this act, and shall consider whether criminal sanctions for perjury or fraud, or civil penalties are appropriate. The commission shall file its recommendations together with the recommendations for legislation, if any, with the house and senate clerks who shall forward the same to the house speaker and senate president within 2 years of the passage of this law.

              SECTION 15. Notwithstanding any general or special law to the contrary, there shall be a special commission to study objectives of sections 20 through 23 of chapter 40B of the General Laws as those sections pertain to regions and regional need for low and moderate income housing. The commission shall be comprised of 7 members appointed by the governor and include 2 members of the department of housing and community development; 2 members of the department of public utilities; 2 officers from the executive office of labor and workforce development; and 1 member of the department of economic development. The commission shall file its recommendations together with the recommendations for legislation, if any, with the house and senate clerks who shall forward the same to the house speaker and senate president within 2 years of the passage of this law.

The information contained in this website is for general information purposes only. The General Court provides this information as a public service and while we endeavor to keep the data accurate and current to the best of our ability, we make no representations or warranties of any kind, express or implied, about the completeness, accuracy, reliability, suitability or availability with respect to the website or the information contained on the website for any purpose. Any reliance you place on such information is therefore strictly at your own risk.

Error