How will the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay amendments change zoning law?

The amendments proposed by four Councilors would allow: 

  • More affordable housing in all parts of Cambridgetaller buildings – specifically, the amendments allow up to 13 stories of affordable housing by-right along “AHO corridors,” a set of listed streets spanning the city, including Mass Ave, Mem Drive, Cambridge St., Mt. Auburn St, and others. This would allow affordable housing proposals like 2072 Mass Ave, which most councilors supported, to succeed, and would ensure that every neighborhood of the city has sites where affordable housing can be built at sufficient scale to be financially viable.
  • Taller buildings in "AHO squares" – specifically, up to 25 stories of affordable housing by-right in Central, Harvard and, Porter Squares as well as, and the "Webster Square" auto-shop area near the new Union Square T station. This would allow significantly more transit-oriented affordable housing like the Manning Apartments.
  • Greater flexibility to encourage more open space. AHO proposals that provide more-than-required open space would be allowed to take their sacrificed building bulk and put it into increased height. This provision would have allowed more housing for the formerly homeless to be built at 116 Norfolk St, and could have improved the site plan of Jefferson Park.

Map showing envisioned “AHO corridors” (solid black lines) and “AHO squares” (shaded areas).