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The original item was published from 6/26/2023 10:51:04 AM to 9/2/2023 12:00:01 AM.

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Highlights - Planning & Community Development

Posted on: June 24, 2023

[ARCHIVED] Harvard St. Zoning Workshops, Affordable Condos for Sale, New Grant Resources, CPA @ Farmers Market

June 26, 2023

Harvard Street & Multifamily Housing

Town Administrator Chas Carey invites community members to participate in the next round of Harvard Street zoning workshops to help shape the Town's proposal, including this coming Wednesday and Thursday at noon. In 2022, the State passed the MBTA Communities Act, which requires 175 municipalities -- including Brookline -- to have at least one zoning district that allows multifamily zoning without discretionary permits (such as special permits). Find out more about this topic and details on the upcoming workshops in this recent news story

In parallel to this work, our regional planning agency, the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, agreed to include Brookline in their grant-funded work to prepare an economic feasibility analysis so that we can include all of our current affordable housing requirements in any zoning changes that comply with MBTA-CA. 

The Select Board discusses the MBTA Communities Act and potential options to meet this new law at their last meeting every month. On June 27th, the MBTA-CA Multifamily Permitting Committee will be updating the Board on their work to date. 

Warrant articles related to this topic will be voted on by Town Meeting this November. Brookline is required to have compliant zoning in place by the end of December.

Three Affordable Condominium Units for Sale

There are currently three affordable condominium units for sale: a one-bedroom on Juniper Street, a two-bedroom on St. Paul Street, and a three-bedroom unit on Boylston Street. More information is available on our Affordable Housing Search webpage.

Perhaps the most subscribed news list for Brookline is our Affordable Housing Opportunities News Flash. If you were not one of the 3,500 people to receive an email or text over the weekend about these units, sign up for future notifications, and remember to reply to the confirmation email!  

When individual resales of deed-restricted affordable units come on the market in Brookline, Housing Project Planner David Guzman makes sure the sale process is marketed and conducted appropriately under fair housing laws, runs the selection process of qualified applicants, and assists applicants through the process. Even if you are not ready to purchase a home now, consider taking a First Time Homebuyer course now – this is a prerequisite for purchasing an affordable unit through our office.

Brookline Unlocks New Grant Resources with Recent Housing Choice Designation

On April 24th, Brookline joined 94 other Massachusetts communities as a designated Housing Choice community. Community Planner Emily DeHoog, Deputy Building Commissioner Paul Campbell, and the Building Department's Administrative Head Clerk Grace Chung sifted through five years of building permit data to document that the Building Department issued building permits for 772 net new units from 2018 through 2022. Since in this time period we produced more than 500 units and took local actions that support housing (such as reducing parking requirements for multi-family units), Brookline is now eligible for the next five years to apply for new state financial resources. This includes exclusive access to Housing Choice Community Grants and preferential treatment for many state grant and capital funding programs (e.g., State Revolving Fund for Water and Sewer infrastructure, MassWorks, Complete Streets, MassDOT capital projects, and PARC and LAND grants.)

With this new designation in hand, the Department of Planning & Community Development and Town Administrator Chas Carey applied in May for a Housing Choice Community Grant to help fund Brookline's Comprehensive Plan update, which we will launch by the end of this year. The state will announce grant awards by November. 

See you at the Farmers’ Market!

In her Community Preservation Planner role, Tina McCarthy will be hosting the Town’s community table at the Brookline Farmers’ Market on June 26th and July 6th to talk about the Town's Community Preservation Act Plan, which will inform the Town's first round of Community Preservation Act grant process this fall. 

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