Review and Critique of Massachusetts Law 40B Essay

1069 Words 5 Pages
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 affordable, decent housing has been a mainstay of the progressive view since the Great Society of Lyndon Johnson, and open space preservation came to the forefront as a part of the environmental movement of the same period in our nation's history. In Massachusetts however, the two sides are bitterly opposed due to a legislatively enacted stalemate which is entirely avoidable.
In short, the statute allows municipalities to "bait" developers, by ordinance or bylaw, to create affordable housing or preserve open space. The ordinance or bylaw, however, must specify the terms of the deal. To be eligible for a special permit, the developer must supply the specified minimum amount of required open space, or the specified percentage of affordable dwelling…