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Affordable Housing Consultants and Units

While this handbook focuses on the comprehensive permit process, it also covers Project Eligibility because developers cannot apply for a comprehensive permit unless they have received a written Project Eligibility determination from one of the four subsidizing agencies. The community also has a role during the Project Eligibility review process, but ultimately the subsidizing agency that receives the developer’s application is responsible for making the determination. All of the other stages – Final Approval, Construction and Occupancy, and Post-Occupancy Oversight – are overseen primarily by the subsidizing agency. Municipal roles and responsibilities that arise during these stages are outlined at the end of Section 4. Chapter 40B: Regional Planning, Regional Need Many people do not realize that “Chapter 40B” is more than the Comprehensive Permit Law. Chapter 40B is actually the regional planning statute in Massachusetts – that is, the same statute that established regional planning agencies like the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC). The Comprehensive Permit Law is part of regional planning for an important reason: its purpose is to ensure that low- or moderate-income housing is available in all market areas by overriding regulatory barriers that make housing expensive to build. In effect, Chapter 40B places all communities on the same playing field when it comes to regulating housing for low- or moderate-income people. That objective is accomplished with a consolidated permitting process that gives the ZBA authority to waive zoning and other local requirements that would impede the creation of low- and moderate-income housing. Chapter 40B promotes regional distribution of low- or moderate-income housing by preventing individual cities and towns from blocking it with exclusionary zoning.