Boston Bar Association Opposes Chapter 40B Repeal Petition

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Following a vote by its governing Council last night, the Boston Bar Association today joined more than 1,500 different individuals and organizations in announcing its opposition to the repeal of Chapter 40B, the Massachusetts affordable housing statute. The proposed repeal will appear as a ballot question in the November 2nd general election.

"Like any statute, Chapter 40B is not perfect, and could potentially benefit from legislative reform," said BBA President Donald R. Frederico. "However, the law serves a critically important purpose in making more affordable housing available for people who want to live and work in Massachusetts.  The better approach in our view is to look for ways to improve 40B rather than to discard it."

The Legislature enacted Chapter 40B in 1969 to address the fact that municipal zoning practices, particularly in the suburbs around Boston, made it impossible for low or moderate income households, who are often minority group members, to find a place to live in those towns. That imperative remains, but Chapter 40B now also provides decent housing affordable to seniors on fixed incomes, and to young families, whose incomes have not kept pace with the dramatic increase in housing costs since 1969.