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Rackemann Hosts Real Estate Bar Association Forum on Chapter 40B

On April 2, 2014, the Real Estate Bar Association held a lunch forum at Rackemann, Sawyer & Brewster. Kurt James, a Director in the firm’s Real Estate Department and Chair of the firm’s Affordable Housing and Community Development Practice Group, and Nancy Blueweiss, Associate General Counsel at Massachusetts Housing Partnership, are Co-Chairs of the REBA Affordable Housing Committee. Deborah Goddard, the new Managing Director for Policy & Program Development at MassHousing, Werner Lohe, Chairman of the Housing Appeals Committee (HAC) at the Department of Housing & Community Development (DHCD), Theodore Regnante, and Christopher R. Agostino were guest speakers at the event.

The topic of the forum was Chapter 40B, which is a state statute that enables local Zoning Boards of Appeals to approve affordable housing developments under flexible rules if at least 20-25% of the units have long-term affordability restrictions. In the past several years, developers and towns have pursued various large comprehensive permit projects, resulting in a number of interesting cases coming before HAC and several appellate decisions in 2013-2014. In addition, MassHousing has taken the opportunity to review the 40B Guidelines relating to requirements for site eligibility letters, final approval determinations and 40B Regulatory Agreements. Our expert panel discussed these cases, changes and proposed changes and their impact on 40B projects going forward.

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