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Nahant Housing Production Plan
The Nahant Housing Production Plan (HPP) is a community and data-driven process to plan for the future of housing in Nahant. This HPP will expand housing diversity, affordability, and opportunity in the community and region. The Town has hired the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC) to provide technical assistance services to complete the HPP.
Together, the Town and MAPC (the Planning Team), will work with residents and stakeholders throughout the process to set the vision and direction of housing policy in Nahant for the next five years.
Nahant HPP Online Open House
Welcome to this unique and interactive online community forum! This Online Open House Survey gives you the opportunity to provide your input in the comfort of your own home.
This survey covers the proposed goals and strategies for Nahant's affordable housing production plan. Your input and feedback is important to ensuring a comprehensive and community-focused plan that will achieve the necessary approval from the Commonwealth and Nahant's affordable housing goals.
For questions on the survey: HPAC@nahant.org
ABOUT THE PLAN
The Nahant HPP will meet all the requirements of a Housing Production Plan and will be the town’s first HPP. HPPs help communities understand their housing needs, set housing goals, and identify strategies to achieve them. Through this process, we will work to expand and diversify Nahant’s housing stock while also increasing affordability for people at a range of incomes. The Town of Nahant is undertaking is undertaking this plan via the office of the Town Administrator at the request of the Select Board, with the help of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC), the regional planning agency for Greater Boston.
This planning process is meant to engage people from both Nahant islands, especially groups that have been historically underrepresented by urban planning processes. This includes people of color, low-income residents, renters, and others.
Have questions? Want to get involved? Contact John Cruz, AICP, Senior Housing and Land Use Planner at MAPC (firstname.lastname@example.org) or Kristin Taylor, Assistant to Town Manager Antonio Barletta, at (email@example.com).
Housing Needs/Demand Assessment and Goal Setting
Development Constraints and Opportunity Analysis
Strategy Development and Deliverable Production
Plan finalized and submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development
WHAT IS A HOUSING PRODUCTION PLAN?
Housing Production Plans are a specific plan type defined under Massachusetts state law (MGL Chapter 40B) and regulated by the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD). To go into effect, the plan must be adopted by the Town and approved by DHCD.
HPPs must include the following elements:
- Assessment of housing needs and demand
- Analysis of development constraints
- Identification of opportunity sites for new housing development
- Housing goals for the next five years, including numeric targets for new housing production
- Specific policies and programs that will help achieve housing goals
Having an active HPP will support Nahant’s eligibility to receive state grants. Other benefits of creating an HPP are summarized below.
Meet local housing need
First and foremost a housing production plan is used to identify and address unmet housing need. Through this process, Nahant will gather a comprehensive set of data and engage the public to identify this need. The HPP will include goals and strategies for the Town and the Nahant Housing Authority (NHA) to meet local housing needs.
Proactively influence development
An HPP is also a strong guide for housing development that allows the community to decide what type of housing is needed and where it should go. State law M.G.L Chapter 40B prompts each community to have 10% of its housing stock count on the subsidized housing inventory (SHI). If this target isn’t met, Affordable Housing development can be approved without complying with local zoning regulations. While Chapter 40B is often not a popular policy in many communities it is the law. Nahant’s SHI is at 3.0% making the Town susceptible to 40B development. An updated HPP will position Nahant to get out front and plan for housing development rather than reacting to a 40B development once it’s proposed.
Comply with Chapter 40B
With a HPP, Nahant can still comply with Chapter 40B without reaching the 10% SHI target. If the updated HPP is locally adopted and approved by the state, Nahant can achieve safe harbor in the following ways:
- 2-year safe harbor if SHI is increased by 1% in one calendar year
- 1-year safe harbor is SHI is increased by 0.5% in one calendar year
What is Affordable Housing?
When most people talk about housing affordability, they usually are referring to housing that works within their budget. When housing planners talk about “Affordable Housing” (with a capital “A” and “H”), they are referring to housing that by law can only be rented or sold to low-income households, and moderate-income households in some cases, without these households paying more than 30% of their income. A household is “housing cost-burdened” when it pays 30% or more of its income on housing costs. Paying this much for housing often means a household will face tough financial decisions and may not be able to afford other necessities such as food, medicine, and transportation.
Affordable Housing has restrictions on its deed that preserve affordability for decades or in perpetuity, ensuring that income-eligible households can stay in their communities. Historically, Affordable Housing was built by the government, but today it is typically built by nonprofit organizations using government subsidies and tax credits. Market-rate developers also produce Affordable Housing units as required by local inclusionary zoning policies, incorporating affordable units into market-rate developments.
Eligibility to live in deed-restricted Affordable Housing is based on income status, which is determined by comparing a household’s total pre-tax income and the number of people in the household to the Area Median Income (AMI). AMI is the median income for households across the Greater Boston region, including Nahant, and is $ 136,100 for the year 2022. A household is considered “low-income” if its annual income is 80% or less of the AMI, which is $ 65,950 for a single person and $94,150 for a family of four. Currently, 3% of Nahant’s housing is in the SHI as affordable.
|Household Size||Area Median Income (AMI)||80% AMI (Low-Income)||50% AMI (Very Low-Income)||30% AMI (Extremely Low-Income)|
MBTA COMMUNITY ZONING (3A)
In addition to the primary concerns to be addressed in the HPP, the Town is working with MAPC to comply with new regulations from the state of Massachusetts for “Multifamily Zoning for MBTA communities” (3A) and how they zone for multi-family housing. This will allow for a greater diversity of housing options in Nahant, while still retaining the New England coastal small-town character that the residents love.
Earlier this year, DHCD released the guidelines for multifamily zoning for MBTA communities, a zoning law passed by the state legislature that requires communities that are directly served by, or are adjacent to communities served by, the MBTA to allow for multifamily buildings to be constructed by-right. This requirement is codified as Section 3A of MGL c. 40A, you can learn more about it on mass.gov by clicking here.
To comply with these requirements, Nahant has been classified as an “Adjacent Small Town” and will need to zone for 84 new multifamily units to be constructed without a special permit. There is no minimum land size requirement. The result of these efforts will be some new zoning that would meet these requirements from DHCD, including a bylaw that would need to be adopted at Town meeting. There will be community engagement focusing specifically on 3A during the HPP process.