Zoning Reform: Almost Doesn’t Count
It was a whirlwind end to the 188th Massachusetts Legislative session. Despite the calls of many legislators and supporters to bring House Bill 4065, An Act Promoting the Planning and Development of Sustainable Communities, to a vote, it did not come up before time ran out. With the real estate market heating up and cities and towns struggling to plan and re-
zone more than ever, this was a lost opportunity. Forty years of inaction is unacceptable.
We’re proud of the coalition that came together to advance this bill, ranging from local officials, planners and municipal staff to environmentalists, affordable housing advocates and the public health community. Nearly sixty Representatives and Senators signed on as co-sponsors when it was introduced by Rep. Stephen Kulik and Senator Dan Wolf. Newspapers around the Commonwealth ran commentary in support of the bill. Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance Director Andre Leroux and Somerville Mayor Joe Curtatone spoke to WBUR’s Radio Boston about the importance of the legislation. The Municipalities Committee, chaired by Rep. Sarah Peake, reported the bill out favorably.
It’s clear there’s an appetite for change when it comes to our outdated zoning and permitting laws. Thank you to everyone who helped get the attention of the Speaker and the Senate President. We have to make sure that improving planning and development are at the top of the list in 2015 for legislative leadership—and the new Governor.