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Nov. 2 will be an important Election Day. There are many highly contested races, and some important referendum questions.

A “yes” on Question 2 will repeal Chapter 40B, the “affordable housing law.” This ill-conceived, egregious law needs to be repealed and replaced with other, more effective approaches to building affordable housing stock.

The problems with 40B are well-known and well-documented. First, this 41-year-old law hasn’t achieved its objectives. Massachusetts is 49th in the nation in terms of affordable housing availability, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Many developers have made unconscionable, illegal profits from these projects, as documented by the state’s inspector general. They have done this after having trashed the zoning regulations of the host towns. Just look at the 40B project on Littleton Road, 12 units on less than 2 acres. This was the project built with a permit granted to MHOC, the “nonprofit” that was investigated by the attorney general.

Proponents say “Without 40B, there would be no affordable housing.” Well, the number of affordable units built without 40B belies that statement. State housing reports indicate that less than 20 percent of the subsidized housing in Massachusetts resulted from 40B projects. For example, the senior-housing project on Ayer Road will produce 42 affordable units and is not being built under that law. Yet another example of non-40B approaches in town is the Conservation Trust’s Harvard Inn and Great Elms. These are converted, historical buildings that saved the structures and produced low income housing units.

An example of a possible, non-40B, affordable housing project in Harvard is the McCurdy property at the intersection of Pinnacle and Littleton roads. A group of town committees is considering how to put the acreage into conservation and make the house into affordable units.

It is time to repeal 40B. Please get out Nov. 2 and cast your “Yes” vote on Question 2. Let’s put an end to this threat hanging over our community.



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