Chapter 40B General Land Area Minimum Guidelines
MAPC is working with the Massachusetts Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP) to develop guidelines for municipalities that want to assert the "General Land Area Minimum" safe harbor under the Comprehensive Permit Statute (AKA Chapter 40B.) According to that law, cities and towns where 1.5% of the land area is occupied by designated affordable housing are protected from comprehensive permit applications that seek to circumvent local zoning.
Unfortunately, the lack of current guidance for these submissions means that most applications are made as paper filings, with no consistency or means of rigorously evaluating the application within the very short statutory window. MAPC is working with DHCD and an interagency committee to develop detailed guidelines that utilize modern GIS tools and data resources such as Digital Parcel data.
The updated guidelines, which will be made available for public comment in late 2016, will make the land area minimum application process more transparent, reproducible, and comparable across communities, resulting in increased fairness and efficiency in the review process.