Great points and thanks for sharing your experience on your local housing trust committee. The Baker policy is pretty standard - spur construction of more housing, with 10 or 20 percent set aside at below market rents or prices. The devil is in the details, for the affordable units may not be so affordable based on the metrics the individual town is using. That said, I'd argue we need more housing of all types, especially but no limited to affordable units.

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I'm learning, as a member of my local housing trust committee which is focused on creating affordable housing in my community, that creating more affordable housing in MA is complex. For example, I've recently learned that the housing units controlled by local housing authorities do not count towards a town's 10% threshold of affordable housing, which is needed to be in compliance with 40B. That just reenforces your point that Baker's actions will have no impact on the towns and are punishing entities that have nothing to do with the issue at hand.

At the same time, you (and the Boston Globe) overstate the impact and intent of the MBTA Communities law. As I'm sure you know, unfortunately this law has no impact on creating affordable housing near T stations. Rather it requires mutlifamily zoning in every city and town (except Boston and, strangely, Avon) in the outer-greater Boston area (west to Ashby and Holden, north to NH, south to Fall River). IF you have a T station in your community, the zoning must be near the station. THAT is what this law does.

With regards to building multifamily housing around actual T stations, there are NO INCENTIVES for a developer to build affordable housing instead of market rate housing. In fact, it's a gift too developers to force this zoning in a Medford or anywhere, so they can build high end housing and market them as a easy commute to work in Boston. Why the lack of an affordability component in this law is not viewed as a huge flaw escapes me. In 10 years, it can have the unintended consequences of making the problem worse.

As for the impact of this on non-communities with a one-size fits all approach, it's to nice of a day out, so...that's it.

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