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Thread: Conversions to affordable housing - MA and IL

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    Conversions to affordable housing - MA and IL

    Looking for information on State laws mandating (in Massachusetts and under consideration in Illinois) a percentage of dwellings to be converted to affordable units - a type of inclusionary zoning? Vague - but that's the request from above.

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    Cyburbian Cardinal's avatar
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    Do you really mean converted to affordable housing? I know of laws requiring that a percentage of newly constructed housing meet an affordability goal, but nothing requiring the conversion of existing housing.
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    Cyburbian
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    Massachusetts Chapter 40B

    Quote Originally posted by sbeamer
    Looking for information on State laws mandating (in Massachusetts and under consideration in Illinois) a percentage of dwellings to be converted to affordable units - a type of inclusionary zoning? Vague - but that's the request from above.
    Massachusetts has a state law Chapter 40B which requires that all cities and towns achieve 10% affordability. It allows local developers to skirt zoning regulations under the guise of providing affordable housing. Generally, when an application is made under Chapter 40B the developer must restrict a minimum of 25% of the units created as affordable. They are also restricted to forming a limited dividend corporation to which has a restricted profit margin (10% or 20% depending upon the type of project). The following is a link to the state's website.

    http://www.mass.gov/dhcd/Ch40B/Default.htm

    One aspect of 40B is that towns may "sponsor" affordable projects. The town I work in has adopted local zoning to meet the Local Initiative Aspects of affordable housing under the Act while maintaining some control over project review.

    As a second home community we have a severe affordability problem. When homes come on the market they are snatched up as second homes by the summer "guests" sometimes at or above the asking price. Realtors I deal with are shocked at what homes are going for here. The prices do not reflect the year round resident's ability to pay.

    More information on what we are doing in Dennis can be found in our zoning by-law, located here: http://www.town.dennis.ma.us/dept/planning.htm
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

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    Quote Originally posted by Cardinal
    Do you really mean converted to affordable housing? I know of laws requiring that a percentage of newly constructed housing meet an affordability goal, but nothing requiring the conversion of existing housing.
    Yes - "conversion" was the word used in the question from management. That is what has me stumped.

  5. #5
    Cyburbian
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    Quote Originally posted by sbeamer
    Yes - "conversion" was the word used in the question from management. That is what has me stumped.
    No mandate on conversion here in MA. In fact, when we suggested a program of property tax relief for property owners willing to deed restrict existing properties that are assessed as still being affordable, the state suggested that such a program did not meet their new production requirements.

    New production can include restoration of units that are no longer habitable into useable homes, conversion of retail space to residential, conversion of motels, but at the moment does not include conversion by way of a deed restriction, of existing market rate housing to affordable housing. If such a program were allowed, we had considered both the property tax relief previously mentioned and an out right acquisition program where we bought market rate homes and re-sold them with a deed restriction. We had figured that with the amount we might lose on each home, $1 million in seed money might have allowed for ten such conversions.
    Planning is much like acting, as my old theater professor used to say, "If you sin, sin boldly, only you know if you are ad libbing." I follow this adage almost daily.

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    Illinois PA

    Quote Originally posted by sbeamer
    Looking for information on State laws mandating (in Massachusetts and under consideration in Illinois) a percentage of dwellings to be converted to affordable units - a type of inclusionary zoning? Vague - but that's the request from above.
    If you are referring to the State of Illinois Affordable Housing Planning and Appeals Act, this piece of legislation does not mandate a percentage of dwellings to be converted to affordable units. The PA which requires counties and municipalities with less than 10% affordable housing to adopt a housing plan and encourages them to incorporate affordable housing within their housing stock sufficient to meet the needs of their county or community. The law further allows developers to seek relief from local regulations that inhibit the construction of affordable housing (the Illinois law is based on the Massachusetts law).

    The PA outlines two strategies that a municipality can adopt for reaching the PA’s goal of 10 percent affordable housing units. Municipalities may adopt one or the other strategy. The first consists of a goal of making 15 percent of all new residential construction or residential redevelopment affordable. The objective of this strategy is to ensure that the relative growth of the affordable housing stock outpaces the relative growth of the housing stock as a whole until the 10 percent threshold is met. The second strategy consists of a goal of a three percent increase in the overall percentage of affordable housing every five years beginning January 1, 2005.

    Resistance to the PA has been huge in some of Illinois wealthier communities and teh effectiveness of the Public Act remains to be seen.

  7. #7
         
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    Thank you all. It turns our conversion was a slip of the tongue. But the real question was "what are MA and IL doing?" And how is it going? Thanks, again.

  8. #8
    Check out mass dept of community development website. Look for Chapter 40B on the site - which dennisplanner defined for you. Also, check out Chapa.org i think. they are the main chapter 40b and affordable housing advocate in the state. You can get lots of information from both sites. also, some of the cities/towns like boston, newton, and i think cambridge have inclusionary housing programs.

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