Editor's Note: The following information is from a press release.
With the citizens of Norwood in mind, State Representative John H. Rogers (D-Norwood) today filed a bill to change Chapter 40B to empower citizens in towns like Norwood who are currently not receiving the credit they deserve for the affordable housing they already provide.
Chapter 40B is a 1969 state law that requires at least 10 percent of a community’s housing be affordable to low and moderate income residents. Communities under 10 percent are vulnerable to developers who have the legal power to override local zoning and build high-density structures.
“The law needs to be changed because it benefits developers who are not stakeholders in the community and who care little about changing the character of the community they leave behind,” Rogers said.
According to Rogers, the definition of low and moderate income housing in the current statute only includes physical structures, but not other forms of affordable housing a community provides. Many residents of Norwood, and similar towns, receive state and federally subsidized housing assistance through vouchers, but these vouchers are not counted toward the 10 percent threshold.
Rogers feels strongly that the law should be updated to reflect the reality of what communities are actually providing.
“The founding purpose of Chapter 40B is laid out in section two: to promote the prosperity of a town’s citizens,” said Rogers. “The noble purpose of 40B, however, is being frustrated by the harsh reality of 40B,” he said. “The law does little to promote the prosperity of our citizens, but does much to promote the anxiety of our citizens.”
Rogers asserts that the goal of the law is to allow working families and seniors to remain in their communities when they might otherwise be priced out of the conventional housing market.