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The 192nd General Court of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts

Section 31: Submission of plans for low-rent housing project to department; application; hearing; disposition

Section 31. A housing authority shall not undertake a low-rent housing project until it has submitted to the department the plans and description of the project, the estimated cost thereof, the proposed method of financing it, and a detailed estimate of the expenses and revenues thereof and the department has found that the plans and description conform to proper standards of health, sanitation and safety.

In addition, the provisions of subparagraphs (a) and (b) shall apply to all state aided low-income projects:

(a) Projects involving the purchase or acquisition of the right to use completed dwelling units which have been recently constructed, reconstructed or remodeled, whether condominium units, individual buildings part of a larger development, or a portion of the units in a multi-family development, shall be approved by the department only after it makes the following determinations: (i) the number of units involved, other than units specifically to be used for elderly persons of low income, does not exceed one hundred in any one building or development; and (ii) the housing authority has made adequate arrangements for the maintenance and operation of the units, either through use of its own personnel or by contract with a private real estate management organization acceptable to the local housing authority with the approval of the department.

(b) Projects involving the construction of new buildings by a housing authority shall be approved by the department following due notice and a public hearing in the town or city involved held to consider testimony relating to the determinations required to be made. The department shall approve such a project only if it makes the following determinations: (i) the design and layout of the proposed project is appropriate to the neighborhood in which it is to be located; and (ii) an adequate supply of dwelling units for low-income families is not then available in the private market and the housing authority, after reasonable effort, has been unable to obtain such units either through reconstruction, remodeling or repair of existing buildings or by the purchase of completed dwelling units. The provisions of this clause shall not apply to any project which shall be certified by the department to be a project designed specifically for elderly persons of low income. A project shall be deemed to be designed specifically for elderly persons of low income if a majority of the dwelling units in said project are designed specifically for elderly persons of low income and if not more than one hundred dwelling units in said project are designed for families of low income.

The department shall give written notice to the authority of its decision with respect to any project within thirty days after submission of such project. The department shall hold a public hearing upon any project, if requested in writing so to do, within ten days after the submission of the project, by the housing authority, or by the mayor or city council of the city or the selectmen of the town in which the proposed project is located, or by twenty-five or more taxable inhabitants of such city or town. Such public hearing may be combined with that required under subparagraph (b) in the case of projects approved under that subparagraph. No such hearing shall be held on any day on which a state or municipal election, caucus or primary is held in such city or town. If the department shall disapprove any project, it shall state in writing in such notice its reason for disapproval.

A project which has not been approved by the department when submitted to it may be again submitted to it with such modifications as are necessary to meet its objections.

When a housing authority has determined the location of a proposed clearance or low-rent housing project, it may, without awaiting the approval of the department, proceed by option or otherwise, to obtain control of the real property to be acquired for the project; provided, however, that it shall not, without the approval of the department, unconditionally obligate itself to acquire such real estate. When a housing authority receives notice that such a project has been approved by the department, it may proceed to acquire real estate for the project, and may construct, or contract for the construction of, any buildings and facilities planned therefor.