Housing Choice bill doesn’t address those most in need
Governor Baker’s Housing Choice bill will help cities and towns in the Commonwealth tackle the lack of housing inventory (“Other states take on housing crunch, but Mass. stands pat,” Page A1, Dec. 4).
There is widespread agreement that we need a range of housing: market rate, middle income, homeownership, and rental. However, the legislation is silent regarding homes that households with extremely low incomes can afford. In a state with finite room to grow, every lot developed with a market-rate apartment eliminates the opportunity to develop one for those most in need.
Our policy makers must ensure that those with the fewest resources benefit from any new housing and zoning legislation, and that each time someone talks about “affordable housing,” they clearly answer the question: Affordable to whom?
Director of communications and policy
Metro Housing Boston
Arlington is a case study in grappling with rezoning
Only on one point do I agree with Tim Logan: Housing policy, in the form of zoning, is currently determined by those who know the community best, i.e., local governmental bodies.
On many other points, and certainly on as many facts, we disagree. Let’s start with the author’s statement that “a vocal minority can block zoning changes supported by a majority of a city council or town meeting’s members.” Following this statement, Logan claims that “that is what has happened” in Arlington.
Not in Arlington. At last spring’s Town Meeting, following testimony after testimony from residents with considerable expertise in this field, the vast majority of the elected members voted “no action” to an array of dramatic rezoning proposals.
Among the many unwanted consequences of these zoning changes would have been the rezoning of parts of Arlington where we have naturally occurring affordable apartment buildings. Enabled by these zoning changes, developers would have razed these buildings and replaced them with luxury apartments, while displacing tenants who do not have the economic means to rent the new apartments.
Jo Anne Preston
The writer is a member of Arlington Residents for Responsible Redevelopment.