Affordable Housing – Chapters 40B & 40R

The high cost of housing in Massachusetts is cited as one of the major factors inhibiting economic growth. As a result, the Commonwealth has put increased pressure on municipalities to provide greater opportunities for the construction of affordable housing through the use of Chapter 40B. At the same time, however, new legislation offers incentives to municipalities to permit development of affordable housing through use of Chapter 40R (Smart Growth Zoning). KP Law is a leader in all areas of affordable housing, from assisting towns with developing tools for their affordable housing initiatives to providing counsel to local boards that have denied projects for failure to address local concerns. Our services include:

  • Working with municipal boards, commissions, officials, and staff to understand a community’s rights, obligations, and authority in the development of affordable housing.
  • Assisting with the creation of community based affordable housing trusts, affordable accessory unit, by-laws, and transfer of municipal land for development of affordable housing.
  • Assisting in all stages of the Chapter 40B process, including review of applications; attendance at hearings of Board of Appeals; coordination of expert consultants; negotiation of project revisions; drafting of decisions; and, if necessary, representation before the Housing Appeals Committee, as well as before the Land Court, Superior Court and Appellate Courts.
  • Assisting in negotiating and obtaining the approval of smart growth overlay districts under the new Chapter 40R, including two of the first three districts approved by the Commonwealth in North Reading and Plymouth.
  • Assisting in the design and facilitation of municipality-sponsored affordable housing, including coordination of expert consultants; obtaining of local, state, and federal permits; and completion of grant applications.
  • Assisting in post-approval review and enforcement of affordable housing conditions, including the drafting of regulatory agreements and use restrictions; coordination with subsidizing agencies; and auditing of project costs and revenues.
  • Assisting in drafting of inclusionary housing ordinances and by-laws.

KP Law helps municipalities develop novel approaches and innovative solutions to affordable housing and smart growth initiatives. Our attorneys have been instrumental in devising new municipal strategies to respond to problematic Chapter 40B projects. It is a commonly held misconception that cities and towns are without any power in responding to Chapter 40B projects that will adversely impact local concerns, but our work in this area has allowed cities and towns to obtain increased leverage. Simultaneously, we have been successful in engaging the development industry in meaningful debate and negotiation that has resulted in a marked improvement in the quality of Chapter 40B projects.

We are also active participants in the implementation of Chapter 40R and its regulations on the state level, and have been since it was first enacted. Our attorneys continue to be deeply involved as projects make their way through the regulatory process and as interpretations of this new statute continue to evolve. Through our experience representing municipalities on Smart Growth projects and our involvement in industry organizations such as the Massachusetts Bar Association, the Real Estate Bar Association for Massachusetts, and the Massachusetts Municipal Association (MMA), we have taken a leadership role in Chapter 40R projects.