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Inclusionary Housing Proposal

The City of Medford is now in the process of developing an inclusionary housing proposal that would result in the creation of quality affordable housing throughout the City. Please read below to learn about what inclusionary housing is, and stay tuned to this site to find out when public meetings on the topic will be scheduled.

Medford has long been a working class, middle class city. So who can afford the new housing being developed here? Could you afford $400,000 for a 2 bedroom condo? Does your family have $2500 a month to spend on a three bedroom apartment?

Inclusionary Housing would create housing that regular Medford residents can afford.

While nearly all newly constructed housing in Medford is “luxury” with a price tag to match, passage of an inclusionary zoning ordinance would result new housing that low and moderate income families in Medford could afford. Inclusionary Housing is an affordable housing policy that gets written into the local zoning code and requires affordable units to be included in new market rate housing development. This would ensure a mix in the cost of our housing and preserve the mix and balance of families in our community.

This is just one important strategy that must be part of a larger plan to prevent our residents from having to leave Medford in order to find housing they can afford.

Over 80 communities in Massachusetts have passed similar ordinances. Each one is unique, responding to the unique needs and goals of that community. City officials are now exploring what an ordinance for Medford might look like.

Why might we want this kind of ordinance?

This ordinance would help preserve our community. Inclusionary Housing would help Medford maintain our economically diverse population, provide affordable housing opportunities throughout the City, and gain an upper hand in preventing inappropriate 40B housing proposals.

In Medford there is a significant gap between our incomes and the cost of housing; our incomes have remained steady, or even fallen relative to inflation, while housing prices have soared. Over time, even while our population has declined slightly, the number of households that cannot afford market rate housing has actually increased.

What goes into an Inclusionary Housing ordinance?

At its core, an inclusionary zoning ordinance requires developers to include affordable units in their market rate developments. Under this strategy, many variations exist in order to make the ordinance work for Medford’s situation.

Decisions that must be made when designing an ordinance include:

– What the trigger will be: what sized developments will fall under the law?
– What percentage of the total units in that new development must be affordable
– Will there by any cost offsets given to the developer in exchange for the affordable units? What will they be?
– What income level must families fall under to qualify for the affordable units?
– Will the developer be allowed to develop the affordable units on another site or to provide cash or land in lieu of units?
– Do the affordable and market rate units have to be identical in design?

For more information, contact the Medford Affordable Housing Specialist at 781-393-2480.