Housing and Development
As our neighborhood changes and develops to meet the times, we must work together as a community to advocate for smart urban planning that truly reflects our values.
Allston-Brighton can’t wait any longer. We need to take action to stabilize rents, increase opportunities for affordable home ownership, and ensure this neighborhood is a welcoming community for all who wish to call it home. We must advocate for equitable housing development with a strong focus on workforce housing. The BPDA, neighbors, and developers must work together to advocate for homes we can all afford!
We need to make sure that as our neighborhood adapts to a changing environment, we encourage developers to create affordable, green, future-forward buildings. Residents must have open access to wide areas of green space, a crucial aspect of planning that allows us to publicly convene and enjoy the outdoors.
For large projects, the City of Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy (IDP) mandates developers set aside 13 percent of units as affordable based on the Area Median Income (AMI) or pay into a city-wide affordable housing development fund. The percentage of affordable units coming online through this policy does not meet demand. This is not enough. We view 13 percent affordability in a new development as a bare minimum. The problem? Less than one percent of developments coming online in the last two years in Allston-Brighton have included more than the minimum percentage of affordable housing.
Neighboring cities such as Cambridge and Somerville have increased their required affordable housing percentage which has resulted in more equitable housing. I will push for a minimum of 20 percent affordable units in new developments, affordable development tiers, a commitment to nonprofit community development corporations, and a deepening of AMI requirements because housing is a right – not a privilege.
According to a BPDA report from January 2019, less than 1 in 5 Allston-Brighton homes are owner-occupied. While there is a definite need for more housing across Boston, our community must stabilize the market and provide homeownership opportunities. We must ensure that developers in our community guarantee a fair housing mix – including homeownership – in all new developments.
I will encourage developers to implement deed restrictions in new properties. These restrictions guarantee that owners will occupy the unit. We welcome all new neighbors in Allston-Brighton, not investors looking to flip properties for a quick buck. These deed restrictions will also help us curtail the practice of investors renting out units as short-term rentals on sites like Airbnb.
I will work with the BPDA and developers to think outside-the-box by designing projects that establish inter-generational housing, work-live housing, and co-living. We need to develop buildings for every walk of life and every budget in mind. In addition, it is completely unacceptable for rents to continually rise when much of our housing stock is aging. We must commit significant capital improvements that meet code requirements in all of these outside-the-box housing solutions.