ABC Statement on Failure of Affordable Housing Overlay to Pass

At the City Council meeting on September 9, the proposed 100% Affordable Housing Overlay was tabled; while the proposal had majority support, it did not have the support of the necessary 6 Councilors to pass through the City Council. Based on the votes to pass the proposal out of the Ordinance Committee, Councilors McGovern, Mallon, Siddiqui, Simmons, and Toomey supported the Overlay. Councilors Devereux, Carlone, Kelley, and Zondervan did not support it.

The proposed 100% Affordable Housing Overlay was a zoning change that would have made it easier for new affordable housing developments to proceed in every neighborhood in our city; it would have lowered costs for affordable housing partners and tangibly increased the number of affordable homes created.

A Better Cambridge was a strong supporter of the Affordable Housing Overlay, and called for it to be paired with increased funding for affordable housing. We believe that increased affordable housing production is a critical need for the city. Sadly, with the current council, it seems that some Councilors are unwilling to make the necessary tradeoffs in order to support affordable housing.

We want to thank the councilors who have worked so hard to pass the overlay this year—Mayor McGovern, and Councilors Mallon, Siddiqui, Simmons, and Toomey—and we look forward to seeing this zoning change return in the future as we continue to work to improve access to affordable housing in Cambridge.

Today (September 11), A Better Cambridge is hosting a Candidate Forum where we will hear from 18 City Council candidates, including eight incumbents, about what they would do to address our housing affordability crisis. Please join us at the Main Branch of the Cambridge Public Library at 6 p.m. to hear their ideas about how to move forward.