Inclusionary Zoning

Community Need

Waltham needs more affordable housing. Currently, two in five Waltham renters live in unaffordable housing. These Waltham households struggle to pay rent - putting more than 30% of their income towards housing costs - and lack access to more affordable options. In recognition of this, WATCH supports the Inclusionary Zoning Proposal currently being considered by the City Council.

What is inclusionary zoning?

Inclusionary zoning is a municipal law that requires housing developers to set aside a percentage of new housing units as affordable for low-to-moderate income residents. The specifics of the laws, including the exact percentage of new housing units that are set aside as affordable and any incentives provided to developers in exchange for participation, vary by municipality. Incentives may include expediting the permitting process or allowing developers to build more units or taller buildings.

What is the current inclusionary zoning law in Waltham?

Currently, Waltham’s zoning law requires that developers set aside 10% of all housing units in a new development as affordable to residents earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI). In the case of rental housing, the rent for affordable units is set at 30% of the monthly income of a renter earning 80% AMI. Currently, the affordability provision of these units expires after 50 years.

What is the Waltham City Council proposal for an amendment to the city’s inclusionary zoning law?

Waltham City Councillors Robert Logan, Diane LeBlanc, and John McLaughlin propose to increase the affordable housing requirement by 50%, from 10% to 15%. The first 10% of new units would be priced as affordable for residents at 80% AMI and the remaining 5% of units would be priced as affordable for residents at 60% AMI. The proposal would amend the current law to make these units affordable “in perpetuity,” instead of for the current limit of 50 years.

Our Position

WATCH supports Councillor Logan’s proposal to amend Waltham’s inclusionary zoning law by increasing the required percentage of affordable new housing units from 10% to 15%.

WATCH further encourages the Waltham City Council to consider setting aside the additional affordable housing units for residents earning less than 50% of AMI, rather than the 60% AMI in the current proposal. This would expand housing affordability for Waltham’s low income residents.

 

To show your support, please:

Sign our petition.

Contact your City Councillor

Print Inclusionary Zoning Fact Sheet and share with friends!

Write a letter to the editor of the Tribune to express your support for the proposal. Email your letter to Wicked Local Waltham.