MassHousing Planning and Programs Department
MassHousing's Planning and Programs Department leads the Agency's municipal engagement efforts. The department oversees new housing production under Chapter 40B, administers MassHousing's Planning for Housing Production Grant Program, and supports municipally-driven efforts to produce new affordable and mixed-income housing.
Treehouse at Easthampton Meadow—a unique, multigenerational housing community for seniors and families of adopting children—was permitted in part under Chapter 40B.
Chapter 40B Affordable Housing
Chapter 40B is the Commonwealth's regional planning law. Chapter 40B promotes responsible housing growth, by creating a streamlined permitting process for eligible projects that utilize subsidized financing, and that meaningfully accommodate lower-income residents.
Since its passage in 1969, Chapter 40B has supported almost all affordable housing construction in Massachusetts outside of the Commonwealth's largest cities. Approximately 70,000 total units have been produced under Chapter 40B, of which over 35,000 units are restricted to households making less than 80% of the area median income (AMI).
Chapter 40B promotes regional planning solutions, and new housing consistent with local and regional planning needs. The law balances the regional need for affordable housing development with local public health, public safety, design, and environmental welfare needs.
The statute allows eligible affordable housing developments to receive a comprehensive permit, even when projects require waivers of local zoning. In cities and towns that achieve certain affordable housing production goals, zoning boards of appeal may reject 40B proposals without facing an appeal from the developer, giving such cities and towns great discretion over 40B development. Municipalities that have not achieved minimum affordable housing production thresholds have a more limited ability to reject 40B proposals.
MassHousing is one of the state's four subsidizing agencies responsible for administering development under Chapter 40B. MassHousing oversees projects financed by the Agency, as well as projects financed by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston, through its private member banks.
Chapter 40B for Residents and Local Officials
Planning for Housing Production Grant Program
MassHousing has made $2 million available to cities and towns that are actively planning to increase their supply of affordable housing. This new technical assistance program will provide cities and towns with additional technical capacity to implement their own housing production goals, and deliver new mixed-income housing. The program will empower municipalities to control their own development destinies, by progressing toward, achieving and exceeding the state's 10% 40B affordable housing goal. Please click here for more information, and to apply for funding.
Chapter 40B helps communities meet the Commonwealth's housing needs, by providing more flexible approaches that allow for the creation of new homes for individuals, families, and older adults, across a range of incomes. Please click here to see the difference Chapter 40B housing has made locally, to access resources for municipalities with current Chapter 40B Comprehensive Permit applications, and to search for affordable homeownership opportunities.
Chapter 40B for Affordable Housing Developers
MassHousing is one of the state's four subsidizing agencies responsible for administering development under Chapter 40B. MassHousing acts as subsidizing agency for 40B projects financed by the Agency, as well as projects financed by the Federal Home Loan Bank of Boston through its private member banks.
Through its Planning and Programs Department, MassHousing issues initial and final site approval to 40B proposals; enters into regulatory agreements with 40B developers, providing for housing affordability and fair housing marketing, and limiting the profits of 40B developments; and monitors compliance with housing affordability and profit restrictions.
Housing developers are encouraged to carefully review the Chapter 40B regulations, the 40B guidelines, and 40B Design Principles Handbook, which steer the comprehensive permit process.
Comprehensive Permit site approval applications for rental and homeownership projects are available as fillable PDFs. Developers are encouraged to discuss potential projects with a member of MassHousing's Planning and Programs Department prior to submitting a formal application for site approval.
Developers pursuing housing under a comprehensive permit may find detailed information on affordable housing monitoring, and on the 40B cost certification process.
Gregory P. Watson, AICP, Manager of Planning and Programs
1 Beacon Street
Boston, MA firstname.lastname@example.org | 617.854.1880