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Encouraging Affordable Housing Construction in Cambridge, Massachusetts

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April 7, 2022  

Encouraging Affordable Housing Construction in Cambridge, Massachusetts

The In Depth section on HUD User’s Regulatory Barriers Clearinghouse (RBC) takes a closer look at innovative state and local strategies, activities, and plans to mitigate the impacts of regulations on the development of affordable housing. Each In Depth article highlights a particular plan, ordinance, or strategy in the RBC database and elaborates on aspects such as the approval process, stakeholder participation, and the progress made in reducing regulatory barriers.

In 2020, Cambridge, Massachusetts, enacted the Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) to facilitate affordable housing production in the city. Following 2 years of deliberation and public input, the city council approved the AHO, which allows affordable housing developments in all zoning districts except those designated for open space. The units must be affordable to households earning incomes less than or equal to the area median income. The ordinance establishes an as-of-right approval process. Additional incentives include density bonuses and relaxed parking requirements. In the AHO’s first 2 years, several affordable housing projects have already entered the production pipeline having taken advantage of the new policy.

Visit HUD User’s RBC In Depth page to learn more about the Affordable Housing Overlay in Cambridge, as well as other plans and initiatives that state and local governments have enacted to reduce impediments to affordable housing.

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RBC Announcements Regulatory Barriers Research Subscribe to RBC Updates Affordable Housing Transformational Task Force Recommendation Report House Bill 21-1271, establishing programs to develop local innovative affordable housing strategies and amending various sections of Article 24-32 of the Colorado Revised Statutes Ordinance No. 5384, amending Section 7-203, Accessory Dwellings, among others, of the city of Alexandria Zoning Ordinance