letters | a fight over housing in Jamaica Plain

Red tape hobbles real estate market

A RECENT editorial (“Please, pick us!”, June 16) and op-ed column (“Class politics aggravate JP housing woes,” June 19), illustrate barriers keeping the market from building enough housing to meet demand.

Inconsistent and duplicative governmental regulations and “not-in-my-backyard” opposition cause artificially high housing prices, squeezing out families who would otherwise choose to stay here, including the tradespeople needed to build new housing.

In 2010, the Home Builders & Remodelers Association of Massachusetts commissioned a peer-reviewed economic study proving that home building is a significant net dollar benefit for communities.


While we support the Patrick Administration’s Compact Neighborhoods Policy and the goal of building 10,000 units a year by 2020, recent zoning reform efforts would significantly hinder our ability to supply more housing. While we support the state Department of Environmental Protection’s current effort to end longstanding permitting redundancies, we lament that a budget crisis, not housing need, is driving reform. Locally, overly restrictive zoning and other permitting roadblocks choke our ability to satisfy demand.

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In 1986, Massachusetts builders pulled 28,000 building permits for single-family homes. In 2011, they pulled 4,899, the lowest number ever. As the recession ends, single-family building remains flat. Housing construction will help curb the bidding wars for existing homes and the exodus of 21st-century talent from Massachusetts.

Lawrence Kady


Home Builders & Remodelers
Association of Massachusetts