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Inclusionary zoning

Inclusionary zoning

On June 29, 2004 the following proposal was passed unanimously by the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council (JPNC.)

The Housing and Development Committee of the Jamaica Plain Neighborhood Council was formed to assist the city in the disposition of city-owned land in Jamaica Plain. At that time both the Committee and the JPNC made affordable housing a priority for the use of that land. Now, most of that land has been developed and there are very few opportunities left to build affordable housing in JP.

To ensure that there are affordable housing options for Boston residents, inclusionary zoning was created.  The current inclusionary zoning policy requires housing developers of 10 units or more to make 13% of the units affordable to households earning between 80% to 120% of the Boston Area Median Income (AMI). But, the median income in JP is approximately $39,000 which is 50% of the Boston Area Median Income.  There is also a pay-out option of $50,000 per unit for developers who choose not to make their units affordable. Compared with other Inclusionary Zoning Programs in other cities, Boston’s requirements are rather low. Many cities require higher percentages and most require the units to be affordable to those with lower incomes.  (See the PolicyLink Report, “Expanding Housing Opportunity in Washington, DC; The Case for Inclusionary Zoning.)

The JPNC urges the City through the Boston Redevelopment Authority to amend the Mayor’s Executive Order on affordable housing as it affects the Jamaica Plain Zoning District as follows:

  • All private developers of housing of 10 units or more will provide 25% of the units in their development as affordable to persons earning 80% or less of the area median income (AMI) with the average household income of all the affordable units being 65% of AMI.
  • Require all affordable units to be constructed or reconstructed within the proposed development.
  • Require all affordable units to remain affordable for 50 years.
  • Accept no cash payments in lieu of providing the affordable units.

Effective immediately, the JPNC will use the following process.

  • Any developer intending to develop 10 units or more in Jamaica Plain would be required to meet with the Housing and Development Committee to present their proposal to commit to providing 25% of the units in their development as affordable according to this policy. (The BRA has been requested to send notification of developments to the chair of the JPNC and the chairs of the Housing & Development Committee and the Zoning Committee.) Notice for these meeting will include advertisements in local papers, mailings to all property owners within 300 feet of the property and community groups and flyers to abutters. All notices will include the address of the property, be bilingual and give two weeks notice of the meetings. The meetings will be translated.
  • Approval of the Housing & Development Committee would be a prerequisite for the Boston Redevelopment Authority’s recommendation of approval; if the proposed development requires either variance(s) from Article 55 of the Zoning Code or conditional use permit(s), approval of the Housing & Development Committee would be a prerequisite to the developer’s appearance before the JPNC Zoning Committee.
  • The proposal would be brought to the full JPNC for final action before being sent to the BRA or ZBA respectively.