-Update October 2020-
On October 26th, 2020 the Waltham City Council passed a new municipal ordinance that will change the inclusionary zoning law; under this ordinance developers building projects with more than 18 units, will be required to set aside 20 percent (20%) of the units as affordable housing. The 20 percent (20%) of affordable units will be for tenants earning less than 80 percent (80%) of the Area Median Income (AMI). This percentage further breaks down to 15 percent (15%) for people earning less than 80 (80%) AMI and 5 percent (5%) for people earning less than 50 percent (50%) AMI.
This is a step in the right direction to faster obtain the 10 percent (10%) threshold mandated by the State and will give the city more control over incoming development.
WATCH supported this proposal. This is a step in the right direction to faster obtain the 10 percent (10%) threshold of affordable housing units in the City and will give Waltham more control over future development.
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?
In 2019, Waltham's zoning laws were updated to require that developers set aside 10% of new units as affordable to residents earning less than 80% of the Area Median Income (AMI) and an additional 5% of new unites as affordable to residents earning less than 50% of the Area Median Income. All these new units will remain affordable in perpetuity.
Read all about the 2019 vote in the Tribune!
Waltham's Inclusionary zoning ordinance has created 128 affordable units in the city.
Our Position on the 2020 proposal
WATCH supports the current proposal to amend Waltham’s inclusionary zoning law by increasing the required percentage of affordable new housing units from 15% to 20%.
WATCH further encouraged the Waltham City Council to consider setting aside the additional affordable housing units for residents earning less than 50% of AMI, rather than the 80% AMI in the current version of the proposal. This would expand housing affordability for Waltham’s low income residents.
The proposal is in the Waltham City Council Ordinance and Rules Committee for review.
The Ordinance and Rules Committee meets Oct. 5, 2020 after the full Committee meeting which meets at 8pm.
To show your support, you can:
Contact your City Councillor - ask the to vote for the proposal.
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