City Council Approves 20% Inclusionary Zoning!

On April 3 the Cambridge City Council unanimously voted to increase the inclusionary housing requirement to 20%! This is the first increase in 19 years, and will significantly increase the new affordable housing available in Cambridge.

Congratulations to Cambridge Residents Alliance which has been pushing for an increase for years. Thanks also to Black Lives Matter Cambridge who stood up visibly and vocally for this change. We all wish this had been done years ago, so that we could have prevented the displacement of many Cambridge residents. This change, however, should be celebrated and we thank the City Council for making it a reality.

Cambridge Residents Alliance had called for a number of changes in the proposal, and most of them were approved, including:

  • Removing language that excludes existing Planned Unit Developments (PUDs) from the 20% Inclusionary requirement
  • Preventing developers’ goal of providing a lower amount of affordable units;
    requiring 3-bedroom units
  • Requiring affordable units in smaller buildings
  • More frequent review
  • An earlier full implementation date, and
  • No further increases in density.

City Councilors passed the ordinance with these change because they listened to all of you who spoke during public comment, made calls and sent emails. Thank you! We also aim to press for 20% for low-moderate income people and 5% for middle income people, as CResA called for, at the time of the annual review. FPRA will work with CResA for even more affordable housing measures.

For more information and analysis see: Cambridge Day and Cambridge Chronicle. (The Chronicle story is good but has some errors. 1) The requirement starts now, and 2) in effect, the requirement is now 11.5%, and will be raised to 15% now and 20% at the end of June.)