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Mayor proposes Revere’s first Inclusionary Zoning and Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinances to increase affordable housing

Brian Arrigo Mayor
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As part of Next Stop Revere master plan and with input from Inclusionary Zoning Advisory Committee, the new ordinances can help more residents stay in Revere

Special to The Advocate

  Mayor Brian Arrigo announced on Tuesday a new Inclusionary Zoning ordinance that will increase affordable housing production in Revere. This new legislation is a result of the work developed through Revere’s first master plan in over 40 years, Next Stop Revere, which identified housing as a key priority for the city’s growth.

  “This Inclusionary Zoning Policy is the first of its kind in Revere. We need to implement these strategies to meet the significant growing demand for affordable housing solutions for all in our community,” said Mayor Arrigo. “Inclusionary Zoning Policy demonstrates how important it is that our housing production and policies keep pace so our residents live and stay in the City of Revere.”

  The need for more affordable housing is increasing as the city continues to grow. Currently, Revere’s subsidized housing inventory is below the state’s goal of 10% of all housing units. Research conducted through Next Stop Revere highlighted that for every seven households that are eligible for deed-restricted affordable housing, there is one unit of subsidized housing inventory. Further, many renters and homeowners in Revere are cost-burdened, meaning they spend more than 30% of their income on housing – 44% of homeowners and 53% of renters.

  “We are proud Revere has emerged as one of the fastest-growing municipalities in Massachusetts, proving our focus on growth opportunities that come along with new commercial development, new jobs, and investments in Revere’s housing stock are crucial,” said Department of Planning & Community Development Director Tech Leng. “Over time, the adoption of an inclusionary zoning ordinance – one that is tailored to both Revere’s community needs and real estate market – will give the City a valuable tool to generate housing units that are affordable to many long-term residents and future members of our workforce.”

  In September of 2021, Mayor Arrigo took the first step in creating this new policy by establishing the Revere Inclusionary Zoning Advisory Committee (IZAC) – a group of individuals with experience in development, planning and affordable housing whose task was to create an Inclusionary Zoning ordinance that could be supported across all stakeholder groups and increase the production of new affordable housing across the city. After eight months of detailed discussion, mathematical assessments and thoughtful conversation with developers – in partnership with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) and Mayor Arrigo – a new proposed ordinance is ready for review. The new ordinance includes a balance of incentives for private developers to create new units of affordable housing both on-site and through Revere’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund. The ordinance will be applied to any new construction that includes six or more new units of housing.

  Requirements of the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance include:

  • 12% of new units to be set aside as deed-restricted affordable housing
  • Affordability to be set at 60% of Area Median Income (AMI) for both rented and owned units
  • Inclusionary Zoning to be mandatory for new construction of six or more residential units
  • Affordable Housing units to be dispersed evenly throughout the development; exterior indistinguishable from market rate units; equal and proportional to size and make up of market rate units

  While the cost of building in the Northeast is increasing, developers must balance community requirements against the rising cost of labor, materials and land. The financial feasibility of their development models that are subject to these new standards will be supported through government policies that allow for offsets in zoning that make their projects more financially acceptable to investors. Offsets in the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance include:

  • Reduction in parking requirements, especially developments located within ½ mile of public transit
  • Reduction in dimensional requirements, such as front and rear yard, minimum lot area and floor area ratios
  • Waiver of certain permit fees

  Mayor Arrigo will present the Inclusionary Zoning ordinance to the Revere City Council on May 23. The Revere City Council will then determine if it is adopted into the city zoning code.

  As another tool to allow more residents to stay in Revere, the City of Revere is creating the first Accessory Dwelling Unit ordinance. This ordinance will provide means for residents – particularly seniors, single parents and families with grown children – to remain in their home and neighborhood and obtain extra income, security, companionship and services.

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