As part of our ongoing election coverage of the 5th Middlesex District Democratic primary, the Winchester Star is running a “Question of the Week” section. Each week we will ask candidates a different question about themselves and issues of importance to the town and the district.
Massachusetts is facing an affordable housing crisis which neither the market nor current legislation has proved able to solve. What changes to state affordable housing law would you support in order to address this?
Our housing market is crushing Massachusetts families. Nevertheless, our leaders have continually failed us by stalling affordable housing legislation. In 2016, Mr. Lewis voted down a much-needed housing bill and the governor’s recent bill just failed. Zoning reform would have provided municipalities relief from 40B projects being forced upon them. It’s failure means our cities and towns must carry the burden -- without the freedom to shape their futures.
If we want progress now, our municipalities must:
- Form affordable housing trusts
- Adopt inclusionary zoning
- Keep an updated housing production plan on file
- Make it easier to build accessory dwelling units
Sen. Jason Lewis (incumbent)
The lack of affordable housing in the greater Boston region is a major challenge that is putting a tremendous strain on family budgets, increasing homelessness and threatening our future economic growth. Earlier this year the state legislature passed, and Governor Baker signed, a $1.8 billion affordable housing bill to increase housing production and preserve affordability for existing low- and moderate-income housing in the Commonwealth. I support further efforts to encourage and incentivize local housing production in our communities, such as 40R districts and transit-oriented smart growth development, while at the same time updating and reforming the state’s Chapter 40B law.