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Planning for Affordable Housing


Planning is a powerful tool for shaping the future of cities and towns. In Massachusetts, a state law directs Planning Boards to prepare a comprehensive master plan for their communities. The master plan should include several components, including housing. However, many Massachusetts communities have old master plans that bear little relationship to conditions on the ground today. Some communities still have no master plan at all, and there is no penalty for failing to have one. Moreover, there is no requirement for communities to adopt zoning consistent with their master plans, so even when a plan is relatively new, it may have limited usefulness for guiding growth and change.