Review and Critique of Massachusetts Law 40B Essay

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In 1969, Massachusetts fashioned the law 40B, famously referred to as the “Anti-Snob Zoning Act”, which allows developers to bypass land use restrictions in towns where less than ten percent of the housing meets the state definition of affordable. There are multiple positions and solutions to friction in Massachusetts largely inspired by controversy surrounding the State's affordable housing law, Massachusetts General Laws chapter 40B between housing advocates and open space advocates. This thesis reviews and critiques the current law, and diagnoses various legislative proposals for the progressive feud.
One would generally assume advocates of affordable housing and open space preservation are political and ideological allies as …show more content…

In Massachusetts, the median price of a home is roughly twice the national median, and the percentage of income devoted to mortgage payments in the greater area of Boston is 44.9%, the second highest in the country after San Francisco at 46.7%. State spending on housing programs, as a percentage of the total state budget, was 2.9% in 1989, but only 0.7% in 2002. State spending for open space acquisition or preservation has also decreased, but not as much as the rate of decline for spending on housing. Inversely, Boston Housing Report Card 2002 estimates that 15,660 units are needed annually to ease the affordable housing crisis. While it is evident affordable housing is a serious, present concern, open space preservation is pressing in its own spot light. The Sierra Club estimates the total land lost to sprawl is about 100 million acres, of which 25 million acres were lost from 1982 to 1997. Since 1945, Massachusetts has lost more than 1.3 million acres of farmland. More than 3 million of the Commonwealth's 5.2 million acres are undeveloped and unprotected.
With Massachusetts State spending on affordable housing and open space at a historic low, when considered as a percentage of the total budget, the production of dwelling units and the conservation of land have become the responsibility of local government, but cities and towns do not build housing, except in rare circumstances. As well they do not routinely buy expensive tracts of open land,

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