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MHP, South Shore Chamber participate in housing forum

Posted on September 29, 2017

HANOVER --- One week after unveiling a report that outlined why more housing is needed to spark South Shore economic growth, South Shore Chamber of Commerce CEO Peter Forman hit the road to explain his organization's reasoning to public officials, business leaders and citizens at a housing forum in Hanover.

Organized by the town and the Massachusetts Housing Partnership (MHP), Forman told the audience that the region needs to reverse population declines and build housing that will attract workers so that more companies will be drawn to the South Shore.

"We have to change the zoning and create a different process of building homes than the one we have now, which results in large lots and high prices that millennials can't afford," Forman told about 25 residents gathered at the Curtis Library. "We aren't doing enough building and zoning to attract the housing that younger people are looking for today."

Forman referred residents to the South Shore 2030 Housing Report, whhch calls for a focus for housing development around mass transit, town centers and underutilized commercial and retail sites.

Forman was joined by Tim Reardon of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council and Susan Connelly of MHP. Reardon explained the data behind the growing housing shortage, which involves thousands of Baby Boomers retiring from the workforce but aging in place, a double whammy that will require the region to build new housing for the workers that will replace them. For the South Shore, MAPC's estimates translates into the region needing to build 44,000 units by 2030 in order to achieve 1 percent economic growth.

Connelly presented information and data on Hanover that included a median home price increase from $196,250 in 1987 to $450,000 in 2017. Research by MHP's Center for Housing Data also found that 52 percent of Hanover's population works in the county, which supports the South Shore's economic notion that if jobs and housing can be added to the area, more people will move to the South Shore to avoid the long Boston commute. For more information, download the Hanover Housing Forum presentation.

During the question and answer session, audience members asked about cottage-style zoning, which would create smaller units for Baby Boomers to downsize too while being able to remain in the community.

MHP would like to thank the Town of Hanover, Town Planner Peter Matchak and the staff at the Curtis Library for hosting the event.