NIMBYites Lose One

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled in June that affordable housing development can’t be stopped on the grounds it might hurt neighbors’ property values. The case involved a suburb where a developer planned an apartment building. Because the town didn’t have enough low-income housing, the state “anti-snob” law allowed the developer to ignore the town’s zoning rules if he made a quarter of the units affordable. Then residents of a nearby single-family neighborhood argued their home values would be put at risk; the court said this argument would “frustrate” the intent of the law. (Boston Globe, 6/20)

Alan Mallach, senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress and the National Housing Institute, is the author of many works on housing and planning, including Bringing Buildings Back, A Decent Home, and Inclusionary Housing in International Perspective. He served as director of housing and economic development for Trenton, New Jersey, from 1990 to 1999, and teaches in the City and Regional Planning program at Pratt Institute.


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