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The Fiscal Impact of New Housing Development in Massachusetts

Analysis indicates that, for many Massachusetts communities, population growth associated with new housing is not inevitably followed by increased demand for services and higher municipal costs. While overall costs will increase with growth, per capita costs often increase less or decrease. Many of our fastest-growing communities experienced the slowest growth in per capita tax burden during the 1990s. In fact, there seems to be little correlation between increases in per capita costs and increases in population, and it seems that municipal services are generally increasing in cost regardless of the rate of population growth. This finding suggests that the standard models relied upon by cities and towns to estimate the fiscal impact of development may be systematically overestimating these costs in many communities. Given the shortage of affordable housing throughout Massachusetts and that these estimates are frequently used as the basis for decision making by local development agencies, it is clear that the methods communities use to estimate the costs of development must be reconsidered.




Barnstable court decision

In October 2002 the state Superior Court struck down a general bylaw adopted by the Town of Barnstable that imposed an affordable housing impact fee on all housing developments smaller than 10 units. Contrary to many reports, the court decision had nothing to do with inclusionary zoning, but instead focused on the legality of charging fees. Read an explanation on the court ruling, download full text of the decision and review Barnstable's bylaw.




Annual Report - 2001

Includes essays about MHP's intensive community assistance in Abington, Manchester, and Westford, MHP's financing of an SRO in Roxbury, helping Main South CDC rehab housing in Worcester, and SoftSecond making a difference in Springfield.




Report of the Governor's Special Commission on Barriers to Housing Development

In October 2000, a report released by the Executive Office for Administration and Finance highlighted impediments to housing development and proposed a special commission be created to recommend statutory, regulatory and operational changes to reduce undeeded barrier to housing development. This report is a product of that Special Commission on Barriers to Housing Development.




Annual Report - 2000

Includes essays about a non-profit developing affordable housing in East Boston; profiles MHP's Intensive Community Assistance helping to revitalize Springfield's Lower Liberty neighborhood; the SoftSecond Loan Program at work in Lynn; and working with the Barnstable Housing Authority to provide technical assistance and long-term financing.