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  • Writer's pictureOffice of Rep. Vargas

Advocates, Legislators Line Up to Back YIMBY Bill

By James Sanna | Banker & Tradesman Staff | Jul 27, 2023

The state legislature’s Joint Committee on Housing heard a parade of testimony Wednesday from housing advocates, business groups, their colleagues and ordinary voters in support of a bill that aims to supercharge zoning reforms statewide.

The Act to Promote Yes in My Back Yard, introduced by Sen. Brendan Crighton of Lynn and Rep. Andy Vargas of Haverhill, would make accessory dwelling units legal statewide, expand provisions of the state’s new. Boston-area transit-oriented zoning reforms statewide and set state-level housing production goals, among other provisions. The bill is the brainchild of housing advocacy group Abundant Housing MA.

The goal, backers say, is to circumvent the kinds of exclusionary zoning restrictions still on the books in many towns and cities and short-circuit political obstacles to upzoning neighborhoods while still allowing municipalities a measure of control over where that upzoning takes place.

In over two hours of testimony, leaders from CHAPA, the Massachusetts Housing Partnership and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council declared their support for the measure, along with a succession of supportive residents.

“Year to date, we are 30 percent behind where we were in 2022. That’s a huge drop in housing production. We know we’re losing tens of thousands of people to other states with lower housing costs, that build more housing. And There was news in the last few days that the [state] unemployment rate has dropped to 2.6 percent and employers are having a really difficult time hiring, growing, filing positions. So we are in a state of crisis with housing production,” MHP Executive Director Clark Ziegler told legislators.

Read the rest of the Banker and Tradesman story here.


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