On May 2nd I joined people across the state who were asked to testify before the Joint Committee on Municipalities and Regional Government in support of the Great Neighborhoods Bill. Partners for the bill include Ma Smart Growth, The Trustees of Reservations, Mass Audubon, and MAPC. I was speaking about artists, seniors and live/work space, accessory apartments and multi family housing. I’ve never testified at the State House before, though I’ve been there often for events and art visits. The last time I went to the State House was when I went with Fred Bodin. This day was a long hearing, so much so it required a move to continue. The entire building was brimming with impressive hearings. It was fascinating to hear the testimonies and see the committee members in action. They don’t want anyone leaving MA!
FACT SHEET: “An Act building for the future of the Commonwealth” H 2420 Filed by Representatives Stephen Kulik and Sarah Peake
Reform our state’s planning, zoning, and permitting laws to support communities that work for families and seniors. Great neighborhoods offer housing choices, are vibrant and healthy places that protect open space and natural resources, and allow cities & towns to plan for the future.
Supporting families and seniors by offering housing choices
- We are producing less than half of the homes we need annually, particularly those suitable for young families and seniors. The cost of housing continues to rise, making it hard for young and old to stay in their communities.
- The bill promotes more multifamily housing in sensible locations, while allowing for regional and local differences.
- The bill will allow for more accessory dwelling units so that seniors can live with family or caregivers or make additional income to stay in their homes.
- More artist live-work spaces will help artists and promote lively neighborhoods.
- By making variances rules more reasonable, minor renovations will make it possible for families to change their homes as their needs evolve.
- The bill will make it illegal to discriminate through land-use decisions.
Promoting vibrant/healthy places, protecting open space and natural resources
- Every day, thirteen acres of forests and farmland are lost to low-density sprawl. Yet people want to live in walkable neighborhoods, where they do not have to use a car as often. We must encourage walkable development patterns and a vibrant mix of uses.
- By promoting more multifamily development in smart growth locations, we will have more neighborhoods that are walkable, bikeable and near suburban centers.
- The bill promotes cluster development where large lots are required now, so that less land is consumed and critical natural resources preserved.
- The bill reduces cookie-cutter development to curb roadside sprawl.
- Notice of development projects to local boards of health.