BOSTON – Yesterday, March 12, Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker, Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash and MassHousing Director Chrystal Kornegay met with several Massachusetts business leaders to discuss the Baker-Polito Administration’s comprehensive Housing Choice Initiative to substantially increase housing production across the Commonwealth.
“Our administration is pleased to collaborate with leaders from the housing, construction, real estate and business communities and appreciates their support as we work to generate better housing opportunities in Massachusetts,” said Governor Charlie Baker, in a media release. “We look forward to working together with industry leaders and our colleagues in the Legislature to pass this bill and move forward on these initiatives.”
“Governor Baker and I were pleased to meet with business leaders to discuss the Commonwealth’s need for a new strategy to build 135,000 new housing units over the next seven years,” said Lt. Governor Karyn Polito, in a press release. “We will continue to work with them and with city and town officials to facilitate sustainable housing production and drive continued economic growth.”
The Baker-Polito Administration’s Housing Choice Initiative will create a new system of incentives and rewards for municipalities that deliver sustainable housing growth; create a new technical assistance toolbox, empower cities and towns to plan for new housing production; and deliver smart, effective zoning at the local level through proposed legislative reforms.
The Massachusetts Municipal Association Board of Directors unanimously voted to endorse the legislative proposal.
“The Housing Choice Initiative will provide critical tools for municipal leaders and the real estate community to meet the housing needs of our growing economy,” said Housing and Economic Development Secretary Jay Ash, in a media release. “By helping communities set housing goals and reach them with new resources and effective zoning, we will ensure that Massachusetts remains a great place to live, raise a family, and grow a business.”
“The Greater Boston Chamber fully supports the Governor’s legislation and housing choice initiative,” said James E. Rooney, President and CEO, Greater Boston Chamber of Commerce, in a press release. “This straightforward proposal takes an important step towards addressing the region’s housing shortage by balancing our need for housing with existing municipal authority.”
In order to address the challenges facing Massachusetts, the Housing Choice Initiative will deliver more than $10 million in incentives, grant funding and technical assistance per year, and enable Massachusetts to realize a new goal of creating 135,000 new housing units by 2025.
“Major employers must be able to retain and attract a talented workforce in order to remain competitive in our global economy,” said Robert Reynolds, President and Chief Executive Officer, Putnam Investments; Chairman, Massachusetts Competitive Partnership. “Our ability to do so is dependent on the availability and affordability of quality housing. To this end, the Governor’s Housing Choice Initiative is a comprehensive plan that will address this issue through a number of thoughtful tools aimed at further empowering municipalities in this effort.”
The Housing Choice Initiative will reward communities that earn a Housing Choice designation by producing new housing units and adopting best practices to promote sustainable housing development, using land efficiently and protecting natural resources and conserve energy.
Cities and towns that receive the Housing Choice Designation will be eligible for new financial resources, including exclusive access to new Housing Choice Capital Grants, and preferential treatment for many state grant and capital funding programs, including MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects and PARC and LAND grants.
“We look forward to working with the Baker-Polito Administration, the Legislature and municipal officials to produce much needed new housing,” said Gary Campbell, Chief Executive Officer at Gilbert Campbell Real Estate and President of the Home Builders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts. “Our collective goal should be to widen housing choices for our citizens, from young families of modest means looking for their first home to downsizing seniors who want to stay near their children and grandchildren. The American dream of owning a home is still the best way for middle class families to build wealth for their future.”
“Every day, families who want to live in Massachusetts are faced with the reality that there aren’t enough homes to buy or what’s available is too expensive,” said Rita Coffey, General Manager of Tullish & Clancy in Weymouth; Board President, Massachusetts Association of Realtors. “We must address this problem or people will end up leaving the state, which will significantly hurt our economy and local businesses. The solution to this statewide problem is new production and Governor Baker’s Housing Initiative is a very good approach to solving this inventory crisis.”
“Public policy must recognize the impact that affordable housing has on talent retention,” said JD Chesloff, Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable. “This interconnectedness – with transportation infrastructure – forms the basis of a strategy necessary for economic growth and job creation. The Commonwealth must continue to enhance existing housing policies by providing incentives to cities and towns to ensure sufficient housing at affordable prices. The Housing Choice Initiative does that, and the Roundtable is pleased to support it.”
In coordination with the Housing Choice Initiative, MassHousing has made $2 million in new technical assistance funding available, to help communities progress toward and achieve housing production.
As part of the Initiative, the Administration proposed legislation titled An Act to Promote Housing Choices, that would allow cities and towns to adopt certain zoning best practices by a simple majority vote, rather than the current two-thirds supermajority. Massachusetts is currently one of only ten states to require a supermajority to change local zoning; all other northeastern states rezone through simple majority votes. The legislation does not mandate that cities and towns make any of these zoning changes but instead allows municipalities that want to rezone for responsible housing growth to do so more easily.
The following leaders joined Governor Baker, Lt. Governor Polito, Secretary Ash and MassHousing Director Chrystal Kornegay at the meeting:
- Abby Goldenfarb, President, Trinity Financial
- Tamara Small, Senior Vice President, Massachusetts National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
- David Begelfer, President, Massachusetts National Association of Industrial and Office Properties (NAIOP)
- Kim Sherman Stamler, President, Related Beal
- Bryan Jamele, Chief Operating Officer, Mass Competitive Partnership
- Jim Rooney, President & CEO, Boston Chamber of Commerce
- Carolyn Ryan, Senior Vice President, Boston Chamber of Commerce
- Greg Vasil, President, Greater Boston Real Estate Board
- Patricia Baumer, Vice President, Greater Boston Real Estate Board
- Peter Foreman, President & CEO, South Shore Chamber of Commerce
- Ben Fierro, Lobbyist, Home Builders and Remodelers Association
- Gary Campbell, COO, Gilbert Campbell Development, Chair, Home Builders and Remodelers Association
- Eileen McCanneny, President, Massachusetts Taxpayers Foundation
- Rob Authier, CEO, Massachusetts Association of Realtors
- Rita Coffey, Head of Century 21, President, Massachusetts Association of Realtors
- Anthony Lamacchia, Owner, Lamacchia Realty, Realtor’s Government Committee Chair, Massachusetts Association of Realtors
- JD Chesloff, Executive Director, Massachusetts Business Roundtable
- Mike Hogan, Past President, Mass Business Roundtable
- Matt Minicieli, Regional Executive Director, Technet Massachusetts/Northeast
- Bob Reynolds, Chairman, Mass Competitive Partnership, CEO, Putnam Investments
- Chris Oddeifson, President, Rockland Trust Bank
- Carol Bulmo, President, Jack Conway Company
- Paul Fitzgerald, Vice President, DELL
- Paul Martini, Co-Founder, iBoss
- Peter Martini, Co-Founder, iBoss
- Sam Russo, Head of Autonomous Undersea Systems, General Dynamics – Pittsfield
- Ruvi Kitov, CEO, Tufin
- Patrick Boyaggi, CEO, RateGravity
- Michael DiMella, Managing Parter, Charlesgate Realty, Board President, Greater Boston Real Estate Board
- Katleen D. Franco, CEO, Trinity Management, Rental Chair, Greater Boston Real Estate Board
- Kate Walsh, President & CEO, Boston Medical Center, Board Member, Boston Chamber of Commerce
- Paula Devereaux, Partner, President of Bar Association, Real Estate Bar President, Rubin Rudman Law Firm
- Tom O’Brien, Founding Partner & Managing Director, HYM Investment Group
- Jim Gallagher, Executive Vice President, General Counsel, Manulife Financial
- Nav Singh, Northeast Leader, McKinsey Consulting, Chair, Boston Chamber of Commerce
- Darren Donovan, Managing Principal, KPMG, Board Member, Mass High Tech Council
- Mark Gallagher, Policy Director, Mass High Tech Council