Great Neighborhoods legislation (Massachusetts)

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Great Neighborhoods is proposed legislation in Massachusetts to encourage housing development by reforming the state’s planning, zoning, and permitting laws. It would encourage and reward municipalities for taking actions that result in housing production, and lower the voting threshhold from 2/3 to simply majority vote for municipalities to approve an array of land-use changes.  Great Neighborhoods is sponsored by Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance. 


Summary from Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance: 

"An Act to Promote Housing Choices Massachusetts home prices have increased at the fastest rate in the nation, and metropolitan Boston rent prices rank among the highest in the country. The Commonwealth must build enough diverse housing stock – single family homes, multi-family units, and small apartments -- to support our growing economy and to provide our growing population with housing choices. Massachusetts must find new ways to encourage housing development. "This new housing production should be concentrated in environmentally sound ways. Massachusetts laws should make it easier to build housing that supports transit-oriented development, revitalizes downtowns, uses existing infrastructure, preserves natural land where possible, and avoids unnecessary environmental impacts. The Baker-Polito Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative encourages and rewards municipalities for taking actions that result in housing production. An Act to Promote Housing Choices complements the Housing Choice Initiative by lowering barriers to sustainable housing production and adoption of planning and zoning best practices. At the same time, the legislation respects the role of local decision-making. "Massachusetts is an extreme outlier in requiring a supermajority vote of its local legislative bodies to change zoning laws, and we are the only state in New England that requires a 2/3 vote to change local zoning. In order to facilitate adoption of zoning best practices and appropriate housing production, An Act to Promote Housing Choices lowers the voting threshold to a majority vote for specific best practices.




Loth, Renée. "Zoning reform offers a path to economic equality and social integration.Boston Globe, 16 January 2018.