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Affordable Housing Consultants and Units Available

When a ZBA grants a comprehensive permit, the new low- or moderate-income units become eligible for the SHI as of the date the ZBA’s decision is filed with the city or town clerk.1 The timing for SHI eligibility can be critically important to a ZBA that anticipates denying a comprehensive permit. This is because in addition to the statutory meaning of “consistent with local needs,” the Chapter 40B regulations create some safe harbor options that allow a ZBA to deny a comprehensive permit without risk of its decision being overturned by the HAC. These safe harbor tools are intended to recognize a community’s efforts to create low- or moderate-income housing, so in most cases they create some breathing room. Access to the safe harbor provisions depends, in part, on the number of units listed on or eligible for listing on the SHI as of the date of the developer’s comprehensive permit application. (See Safe Harbors for additional guidance.)