Foxborough is launching a community-driven planning process to identify housing goals and facilitate a series of community discussions around housing needs and concerns in town. This dialogue will culminate in a Housing Production Plan (HPP), which will outline strategies for Foxborough to plan for and guide development of housing. The HPP will build a vision for the town’s housing landscape, lay out context-sensitive strategies to expand housing choice and opportunity, and recommend practical action items to meet housing need and demand. Foxborough has partnered with the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to develop the HPP with a grant from the state Executive Office of Energy & Environmental Affairs.
HPP Draft Components:
- Housing Needs Assessment: September – February 2019
- Development Constraints and Opportunities: February 2019 – April 2020
- Housing Goals and Strategies: March – June 2020
- Housing Production Plan: July – September 2020
Four community-wide discussions are planned to occur throughout the process. These include a forum held in November 2019, a housing panel discussion held in February 2020, an online open house scheduled for June 2020, and a discussion of the draft plan in September 2020. Information about these and other opportunities to participate in the process will be posted on this website; check back for more information!
The HPP is guided by a Working Group made up of town residents from a variety of backgrounds. Working Group members are responsible for sharing local knowledge of community attitudes towards housing, housing need and demand, challenges and barriers to meeting demand, and development opportunity areas; identifying stakeholders; and reviewing and providing input on plan elements. The Working Group will meet approximately 5 times over the course of the planning process.
Housing is considered “affordable” when it costs 30% or less of a household’s income. One type of affordable housing is “naturally affordable,” which refers to unsubsidized, market-rate housing that is less expensive because it is older or smaller. Other Affordable Housing is deed-restricted to eligible low- and moderate-income residents. This deed-restricted Affordable Housing has restrictions to preserve affordability for decades or in perpetuity, and is usually constructed with government subsidy or as part of government regulations.
Affordable Housing eligibility is usually based on a region’s Area Median Income (AMI), which is calculated by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The AMI for Foxborough and the surrounding communities in 2019 is $113,300. Typically, households eligible for deed-restricted Affordable Housing must earn less than 80% of AMI.
Chapter 40B is a state statute that encourages the production of affordable housing in communities throughout Massachusetts, particularly in towns where less than 10% of the housing is affordable. In communities below the 10% minimum, Chapter 40B provides eligible developers the ability to supersede local zoning if 20-25% of units in a development are Affordable. Foxborough has reached the state goal of 10% affordable housing, so it has “safe harbor” and is able to retain a greater degree of local control over development.
Housing Production Plan Requirements
As part of Chapter 40B, the state asks every community to develop a Housing Production Plan, which is a proactive strategy for communities to plan for and guide development of housing. For some towns, an HPP can offer a path towards safe harbor. Because Foxborough already has safe harbor, an HPP is an opportunity for the town to proactively work towards identifying and meeting its housing needs. An HPP consists of the following components:
A housing needs and demand assessment that considers the community’s demographics, housing supply, and how well the housing meets the needs of residents.
An analysis of regulatory and non-regulatory constraints on affordable housing development
A Housing vision and goals, including a numerical annual housing production goal and the identification of specific sites where the Town will encourage residential development
Strategies for working towards goals and an implementation plan