At the most recent Zoning Commission meeting, the Commission unanimously passed a text amendment to the zoning code to remove parking minimums for affordable residential projects. The text amendment, introduced by Councilors Bok and O’Malley, was passed unanimously by the Boston City Council in October and unanimously approved by the BPDA board in November. Passage by the Zoning Commission, the final vote before being signed by the Mayor, is an important step in reducing barriers to increase affordable housing in Boston.
“We’ve just made it easier to build affordable housing in the City of Boston without unnecessary and costly delays,” said Councilor Bok. “Today we took action in response to our affordability crisis: we’re putting housing for people first, ahead of cars. I am so grateful to the Zoning Commissioners for their unanimous vote, and to my co-sponsor, Councilor Matt O’Malley, the BPDA, the Department of Neighborhood Development, and the Boston Transportation Department for their partnership throughout this process. I am also so appreciative of the incredible community advocates who have supported this amendment and shared their moving, impactful testimony at every step.”
“Today we became one step closer to addressing Boston’s housing crisis,” said Councilor O’Malley. “I am thankful that alongside Councilor Bok, advocates, and the Mayor’s office, we were successfully able to create zoning relief that will be transformative for our city. Eliminating parking minimums is an impactful and commonsense policy solution that can help resolve the city’s need for more affordable housing.”
The amendment will remove parking minimums for affordable residential developments where at least 60% of the units are income-restricted at 100% Area Median Income (AMI) or below. It will also eliminate the use of parking minimums as a basis for lawsuits that seek to stall such affordable housing, while still allowing the right amount of parking for each affordable housing project to be determined on a case-by-case basis through the project review process.