Shrewsbury officials testify in support of affordable housing legislation

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Shrewsbury – State Rep. Hannah E. Kane (R-Shrewsbury) and State Sen. Michael O. Moore (D-Millbury) were joined Dec. 19 by Shrewsbury Board of Selectmen Chair John Lebeaux and Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las to testify before the Joint Committee on Housing in support of legislation pending before the Joint Committee that was filed on behalf of the town of Shrewsbury.

“This legislation will allow manufactured homes that are truly affordable to be recognized as part of affordable housing stock in the community,” Kane explained. “The town of Shrewsbury has voted on multiple occasions at town meeting to file this legislation, which only pertains to the classification of affordable homes within the municipality of Shrewsbury.”

If enacted, Senate Bill 731, “An Act relative to affordable housing in the town of Shrewsbury,” would classify manufactured homes in Shrewsbury as low- or moderate-income housing, as defined by Chapter 40B of the General Laws. The legislation requires that a manufactured home be situated on the same parcel of land for at least 20 years before it is eligible to be considered as part of the affordable housing inventory.

“I am proud to support this legislation which was filed at the request of the town of Shrewsbury,” said Moore. “The Massachusetts Comprehensive Permit Act, also known as Chapter 40B, requires the production of affordable housing in all communities throughout our commonwealth. This bill would simply amend the existing law to enable the town to classify manufactured homes as affordable housing for 40B purposes.”

“For all practical purposes, the manufactured housing units in Shrewsbury this legislation would affect are and have been affordable housing options to our residents for decades. This legislation would recognize that reality and appropriately include them as affordable housing for the purposes of Chapter 40B,” Lebeaux noted.

“The town of Shrewsbury is proactive in trying to achieve 10 percent affordable housing in the community with a Department of Housing and Community Development approved Housing Production Plan and a local Inclusionary Housing Bylaw,” said Assistant Town Manager Kristen Las. “If this bill is passed, the existing manufactured homes would be added to the Subsidized Housing Inventory bringing the total number of affordable housing units closer to 10 percent and achieving some of the action items in the Housing Production Plan.”

Under the Joint Rules of the Legislature, the Joint Committee on Housing must issue a report and recommendation on the legislation no later than Wednesday, Feb. 7. To continue tracking the bill, S.731, visit the Legislature’s website, www.malegislature.gov.