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BussesAin'tTrains
06-02-2015, 10:57 AM
Via Alana Semuels @ CityLab (http://www.citylab.com/housing/2015/06/where-should-poor-people-live/394667/). Excerpt on MA below. I Bolded the asshat NIMBY comments:

AMHERST, Mass. — When Peter Gagliardi first heard about an owner looking to sell an old farmhouse in this college town, he thought it seemed like an ideal place for an affordable housing complex. The property was across the street from a bus stop, near a bike path, and had access to two different sewer lines. What’s more, the city of Amherst, concerned with rising housing prices, had made a commitment to developing more affordable housing for residents in the town and region.

So Gagliardi’s nonprofit, HAPHousing, hired an architecture firm that would convert the farmhouse into 26 affordable units, a development that would blend into the bucolic landscape of ramshackle barns and rolling hills.

But when the plan for the development, called Butternut Farms, ended up in front of the community, opposition was vociferous.

“People basically said, ‘We’re in favor of affordable housing, but it shouldn’t be in a residential neighborhood,’” Gagliardi told me.

In a zoning meeting about the development, some people said their children had been bullied when they lived in rental developments and didn’t want that to happen again. Others said there would be too much traffic if the development was built. Still others worried that they would no longer be able to go into their backyards in their underwear. A young boy complained that the residents of the affordable-housing complex would run over the turtles that sometimes appeared in the neighborhood. Another resident complained that he used the property—which was private—to pick blueberries or race ATVs, and the development would put an end to all of that.

“Some of the things that were said were on the hateful side,” Gagliardi said. “It happens often, it’s the Not In My Backyard Syndrome.”

For more than a century, municipalities across the country have crafted zoning ordinances that seek to limit multi-family (read: affordable) housing within city limits. Such policies, known as exclusionary zoning, have led to increased racial and social segregation, which a growing body of work indicates limits educational and employment opportunities for low-income households.

But Massachusetts has a work-around: A state statute, called 40B, allows developers to get around exclusionary zoning and build affordable housing in communities where only a small percentage of units are considered affordable. (A few other states have similar policies.) The statute, passed in 1969 and upheld by the state’s Supreme Judicial Court in 1973, has led to the construction of 1,300 developments throughout the state, containing a total of 34,000 units of affordable housing, according to Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association, or CHAPA.

Projects built under 40B are almost always controversial: The statute was enacted in the first place because most communities outside of big cities didn’t permit multi-family housing, said Ann Verrilli, director of research at CHAPA. Even with the statute, communities often spend millions of dollars in legal fees to try and stop the projects, Verrilli told me.

“There’s real resistance to change, resistance to development of any kind that may have school-aged kids,” she said.

The experience of developers trying to build affordable housing in Massachusetts takes on added significance now, as housing advocates wait for a decision on a landmark case in front of the Supreme Court that concerns where low-income housing projects are placed. The case, Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs v. The Inclusive Communities Project, arose when a nonprofit housing group sued Texas, arguing that the state primarily distributed tax credits for low-income housing projects in minority-dominated areas. Inclusive Communities argued that doing so perpetuated segregation and violated the Fair Housing Act, which was passed in 1968 to prevent landlords, municipalities, banks and other housing providers from discriminating on the basis of race. The Supreme Court case centers on whether this discrimination has to be intentional in order to be illegal, or whether the Fair Housing Act also seeks to prevent policies that may not be intentionally discriminatory, but that have a “disparate impact” on minorities.

Click the link above for the rest of the piece.

datadyne007
06-02-2015, 11:18 AM
See also one of my fav Boston Mag articles:


Not in Newton’s Back Yard
Well-heeled progressives champion liberal ideals, *including housing the homeless. Just don’t try it in their neighborhood.

By Lauren Gibbons Paul | Boston Home | March 2015

--

On the western end of Beacon Street, a block from Newton-Wellesley Hospital, sits a charming 1917 brick firehouse with a lookout tower, known in these parts as Engine 6. Decommissioned as a fire station decades ago, the building marks the entrance to Waban, one of the most affluent of Newton’s 13 villages. A leafy enclave where average home prices top $2 million and incomes and education levels rank among the nation’s highest, it has long been the neighborhood of choice for Red Sox players from Ted Williams to Jason Varitek—an upscale slice of suburban paradise just 7.5 miles due west of Fenway Park.

Newton is a reliable redoubt of philanthropy and progressive politics—in 2012, an overwhelming 71 percent of the city voted for Barack Obama. The city’s ambitious Democratic mayor, Setti Warren, is often mentioned as a candidate for higher office, and was the favorite for the Democratic Senate nomination in 2012 before being shoved aside by Elizabeth Warren, who nonetheless carried Newton by nearly two votes to one. But despite its progressive bona fides, the city has long struggled to live up to its liberal ideals in one major area: affordable housing.

The city is already 90 percent built out, and it is chronically short of the state-mandated threshold of having 10 percent of its units be affordable housing. When an affordable unit comes on the market—a one-bedroom condo for $155,000, or a two-bedroom rental for $1,269 per month—Newton treats it like a lottery ticket. So in the summer of 2013, when the idea of converting Engine 6 came along, Setti Warren and other city officials felt they had a slam-dunk idea for expanding their affordable-housing stock. The city would partner with Pine Street Inn, the highly respected provider of services to the homeless throughout the region, best known for its shelters in Boston. Together, they’d convert Engine 6 into permanent housing for nine chronically homeless people and one supervisor. The proposal called for a nonprofit developer to use $1.4 million in city-controlled federal low-income housing funds toward the $3 million redevelopment project, picking up the rest from state funds and other sources. It seemed like a rare—nearly singular—chance to use an existing building to help the very poor. Everyone involved with the proposal seemed eager to help the disadvantaged.

...

Representatives from Pine Street and Metro West were just a few slides into their presentation when residents began asking loud, angry questions. Just who exactly would be selected to live at Engine 6? And where would they get needed services? And who thought Waban would make a good home for “those people,” anyway?

...

By the end of the meeting, Jennifer Van Campen, Metro West’s executive director, felt uneasy at the thought of walking to her car by herself. “People were really attacking me,” she says, “pointing their finger, turning red, and spitting. ‘Why are you trying to ruin my neighborhood?’ We were underprepared for people’s vehemence.”

That night, Van Campen wasn’t the only one concerned about her personal safety. “One gentleman said something to the effect that, ‘You don’t care if the people around here live or die. You’re putting our lives in jeopardy,’” Yates recalls. “I just wanted to get out of there without a riot breaking out.”

...

One of the more vocal opponents, Waban resident Gary Jacobson, a psychiatrist who works with the chronically homeless, made his points by standing on a chair. Later, he circulated a letter to his neighbors, stating that the placement of long-term homeless residents at Engine 6 would constitute a “clear and present public endangerment of our neighborhood.” Given his experience with the homeless, Jacobson added, he did not have a lot of hope for their rehabilitation.

With that kind of an opening, people felt free to let it rip. “We live in a community where our kids walk to school…or to get ice cream… I want to know why we shouldn’t be worried about our kids walking on their own through the community” if the housing proposal is approved, Waban resident Jill Balmuth was quoted saying in the Globe. The tenants, she added—to a round of applause—“are not gonna be accepted in this community. So I’m not sure it’s not fair on either side.” Waban resident Leonard Sherman, also quoted in the Globe, said, “They really would be better served being in an area such as, I hate to say this, but in Waltham.”

...

Full article:
http://www.bostonmagazine.com/property/article/2015/02/24/affordable-housing-in-newton/

bigeman312
06-02-2015, 11:35 AM
Very sad.

Matthew
06-02-2015, 01:08 PM
I'm ashamed to live in the same state as assholes like Gary Jacobson or Jill Balmuth. What pieces of shit.

vanshnookenraggen
06-02-2015, 05:00 PM
This happens everywhere for all sorts of subjective reasons. The sad truth is that exclusionary zoning, seen a lot in suburban development but also in many modern urban developments, only reinforces this closed minded thinking and creates a cycle of stagnation in thought. I love living in a city because it means I can be around people who think differently from me so I can learn and grow. Many people are scared of this and want to be insulated with those who think and act like them. It's incestuous and is leading to many of the housing and economic disparity issues the whole nation is facing ATM.

On of the major things Jane Jacobs pointed out about cities was how they mixed different people together and how this created systems and networks where the rich and poor would benefit from each other. These social networks are destroyed when you don't need other people; when our lesser services are done by technology or when new communications allows the rich and poor to be separated by space and time this means that we no longer see the benefits of living with rich next to poor.

This is exactly how the world has changed and why there is such a dramatic difference between rich and poor and why even those who claim to support affordable housing react so negatively when it comes up in their backyard.

Brad Plaid
06-02-2015, 07:03 PM
Hypocritical progs. I'm shocked, shocked.

underground
06-03-2015, 05:23 AM
@brad
Insightful political commentary...

Brad Plaid
06-03-2015, 12:06 PM
Heya undie! Hope yur havin a superduper-sunshine day there!

FK4
06-03-2015, 07:38 PM
This happens everywhere for all sorts of subjective reasons. The sad truth is that exclusionary zoning, seen a lot in suburban development but also in many modern urban developments, only reinforces this closed minded thinking and creates a cycle of stagnation in thought. I love living in a city because it means I can be around people who think differently from me so I can learn and grow. Many people are scared of this and want to be insulated with those who think and act like them. It's incestuous and is leading to many of the housing and economic disparity issues the whole nation is facing ATM.

On of the major things Jane Jacobs pointed out about cities was how they mixed different people together and how this created systems and networks where the rich and poor would benefit from each other. These social networks are destroyed when you don't need other people; when our lesser services are done by technology or when new communications allows the rich and poor to be separated by space and time this means that we no longer see the benefits of living with rich next to poor.

This is exactly how the world has changed and why there is such a dramatic difference between rich and poor and why even those who claim to support affordable housing react so negatively when it comes up in their backyard.

That's only partly true. Cities a hundred years ago were more compact so the poor districts were technicaly closer, sometimes, to the rich ones, but there was never some wonderful admixture of income types in the same neighborhood. Yeah, maybe in some middle class streetcar suburbs there were some lower middle and working class folks on the main drag with the mid-middle class single family homes on the backroads, but the rich enclaves were solidly rich. There wasnt a poor person in Back Bay. Now the rich zones are larger, and often more solidly *very* rich. Waban is like that. And, really, the location isn't that great for 9 formerly homeless people who still need a supervisor for whatever reason. Socioeconomic diversity is in general a good thing, but this isnt the best example of how to do that. You dont put a boarding house in the middle of Back Bay, and this one move isn't going to change anything about Newton. So it's not ideal. It probably ought to be done anyway, but that's only because of the fact that there are people who need housing in this area and this would be an opportunity for them. I dont support it on any general principle of wealth distribution and dont think it will make the neighborhood a better place. Demolish everything on Beacon, run a streetcar on it and build apartments and then, yeah. But not this.


Kathleen Hobson, a Stanford graduate and mother of three—her husband is the acclaimed surgeon and author Atul Gawande—was one of the only neighbors who spoke in favor of the idea. Having volunteered at Pine Street Inn for years, she didn’t share their fears. “The accusations bore no relation to the people I knew—you know, the crazies, the pederasts, the drug addicts wandering our leafy streets scaring our children,” she says. “That just didn’t jibe with the reality I knew.”

Pine St operates an extraordinary number of transitional housing residences across the region. Really amazing, actually. It's hard to get them and takes a lot of time and dedication... and staying at Pine Street Inn, too. Which is NOT easy, and this person is definitely being kind... the Inn itself has plenty of people that are scary as fuck. Keep that in mind next time someone makes some nasty comment about homeless people who dont go to shelters. At any rate, her comment holds true for folks who make it to the next levels of housing, not necessarily to the main Inn, though.

ErnieAdams
06-04-2015, 05:44 PM
Pine St operates an extraordinary number of transitional housing residences across the region. Really amazing, actually. It's hard to get them and takes a lot of time and dedication... and staying at Pine Street Inn, too. Which is NOT easy, and this person is definitely being kind... the Inn itself has plenty of people that are scary as fuck. Keep that in mind next time someone makes some nasty comment about homeless people who dont go to shelters. At any rate, her comment holds true for folks who make it to the next levels of housing, not necessarily to the main Inn, though.

A couple of those Pine St. transitional homes are within a few doors of the JFK birthplace on Beals Street in Brookline. That immediate area is near or on par economically with Waban, consisting of $2M+ single family homes whose property values and quality of life don't seem diminished in the least by Pine St.'s presence. Quite a few of those old Victorians are transitional or group housing, going back to the days when you could have snapped one up for $200K. In fact, in the category of debunking "won't someone please think of the children", Beals Street is Brookline's single busiest street on Halloween, closed to car traffic and packed to the gills with kids.

FK4
06-04-2015, 07:08 PM
A couple of those Pine St. transitional homes are within a few doors of the JFK birthplace on Beals Street in Brookline. That immediate area is near or on par economically with Waban, consisting of $2M+ single family homes whose property values and quality of life don't seem diminished in the least by Pine St.'s presence. Quite a few of those old Victorians are transitional or group housing, going back to the days when you could have snapped one up for $200K. In fact, in the category of debunking "won't someone please think of the children", Beals Street is Brookline's single busiest street on Halloween, closed to car traffic and packed to the gills with kids.

Waban and Coolidge Corner are absolutely not anything like one another, not in the least. First of all, those million dollar homes on Beals are mostly multifamily residences, and 25 years ago there was plenty of property in that neck of the woods that wasn't insanely expensive. Affluent area? Yeah, always, but nothing like Waban. Second, and more importantly, Waban is spread out, very suburban, and exclusively single family homes. Coolidge has tons of diversity of housing, many apartments, some condos, some single families, several large apartment buildings scattered about - many with Section 8 housing, and several group homes as well as, yes, some transitional housing. Who lives in Coolidge? Families, singles, yuppies, college students, old people. Not to mention that Comm Ave, BU and Allston are right there, and Longwood and Kenmore walking distance. Who loves in Waban? A very singular demographic. There is nearly zero diversity. It's not economically on par with Waban at all, and if the means are similar that says nothing of the difference in spread between the two.

ErnieAdams
06-04-2015, 07:56 PM
^Nothing you're saying is wrong - about Waban vs. Coolidge Corner. I'm talking specifically and hyper-granularly about that stretch of Beals Street up from the JFK birthplace. It's a cherry pick, but it's an apt enough comparison to analyze the NIMBY angle given that exactly the same organization is trying to move into Waban. Brookline assessors' database has this to say about the houses surrounding the Pine Street properties:

34 BEALS ST $992,500 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-45-00
35 BEALS ST $1,576,300 THREE FAMLY 050-09-00
36 BEALS ST $1,028,900 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-44-00
38 BEALS ST $1,165,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-43-00
39 BEALS ST $1,565,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-10-00
40 BEALS ST $1,021,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-42-00
43 BEALS ST $1,526,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-11-00
44 BEALS ST $1,642,000 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-41-00
49 BEALS ST $1,442,800 TWO FAMILY 050-12-03
50 BEALS ST $935,800 TWO FAMILY 051-40-00
51 BEALS ST $1,305,500 LODGING/BOARDING HOUSES 050-13-00
54 BEALS ST $957,700 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-39-01
55 BEALS ST $1,375,300 LODGING/BOARDING HOUSES 050-14-00
56 BEALS ST $974,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-39-00
58 BEALS ST $1,458,600 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-38-00
60 BEALS ST $1,278,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-37-00
63 BEALS ST $1,367,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-15-03
66 BEALS ST $1,379,500 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-36-00
67 BEALS ST $1,106,900 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-16-00
70 BEALS ST $1,046,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-35-00
73 BEALS ST $1,487,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-17-00

So mostly high-wealth single families in this specific stretch, with assessed values that still haven't nearly caught up to market. This is the kind of stretch where Dennis Lehane bought and sold not too long ago. No college students or Section 8 right here. For this exact area, I believe my point still stands. Near or on par with Waban.

FK4
06-04-2015, 08:17 PM
^Nothing you're saying is wrong - about Waban vs. Coolidge Corner. I'm talking specifically and hyper-granularly about that stretch of Beals Street up from the JFK birthplace. It's a cherry pick, but it's an apt enough comparison to analyze the NIMBY angle given that exactly the same organization is trying to move into Waban. Brookline assessors' database has this to say about the houses surrounding the Pine Street properties:

34 BEALS ST $992,500 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-45-00
35 BEALS ST $1,576,300 THREE FAMLY 050-09-00
36 BEALS ST $1,028,900 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-44-00
38 BEALS ST $1,165,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-43-00
39 BEALS ST $1,565,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-10-00
40 BEALS ST $1,021,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-42-00
43 BEALS ST $1,526,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-11-00
44 BEALS ST $1,642,000 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-41-00
49 BEALS ST $1,442,800 TWO FAMILY 050-12-03
50 BEALS ST $935,800 TWO FAMILY 051-40-00
51 BEALS ST $1,305,500 LODGING/BOARDING HOUSES 050-13-00
54 BEALS ST $957,700 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-39-01
55 BEALS ST $1,375,300 LODGING/BOARDING HOUSES 050-14-00
56 BEALS ST $974,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-39-00
58 BEALS ST $1,458,600 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-38-00
60 BEALS ST $1,278,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-37-00
63 BEALS ST $1,367,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-15-03
66 BEALS ST $1,379,500 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-36-00
67 BEALS ST $1,106,900 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-16-00
70 BEALS ST $1,046,400 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-35-00
73 BEALS ST $1,487,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-17-00

So mostly high-wealth single families in this specific stretch, with assessed values that still haven't nearly caught up to market. This is the kind of stretch where Dennis Lehane bought and sold not too long ago. No college students or Section 8 right here. For this exact area, I believe my point still stands. Near or on par with Waban.

Not sure what your point is, then. If it's that the kids on that street arent getting raped by pedophile homeless people from the lodging house, that goes for anywhere. Picking one half of a tiny street - and the more homogeneous half of it - goes beyond cherry picking, in any event.

6 BEALS ST 1 P-A $451,900 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 051-51-01
6 BEALS ST 2 & P-B $493,700 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 051-51-02
6 BEALS ST 3 & P-C $529,400 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 051-51-03
7 BEALS ST 1 P1 P4 $767,300 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 050-04-03
7 BEALS ST 2 & P2 P5 $703,200 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 050-04-01
7 BEALS ST 3 & P3 P6 $703,200 CONDOMINIUM UNIT 050-04-02
10 BEALS ST $2,386,900 4-8 UNIT APARTMENT BUILDING 051-50-00
15 BEALS ST $1,601,100 TWO FAMILY 050-05-00
16 BEALS ST $1,308,300 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-49-00
19 BEALS ST $1,280,600 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-06-00
22 BEALS ST $1,136,600 TWO FAMILY 051-48-00
25 BEALS ST $1,372,200 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 050-07-00
26 BEALS ST $1,216,600 TWO FAMILY 051-47-00
29 BEALS ST $1,283,500 TWO FAMILY 050-08-00
30 BEALS ST $1,641,200 TWO FAMILY 051-46-00
34 BEALS ST $992,500 ONE FAMILY HOUSE 051-45-00
35 BEALS ST $1,576,300 THREE FAMLY 050-09-00

ErnieAdams
06-04-2015, 08:29 PM
Not sure what your point is, then. If it's that the kids on that street arent getting raped by pedophile homeless people from the lodging house, that goes for anywhere. That was, in fact, pretty much the point. I shouldn't have engaged your contempt for my comparison, which I will now make more bluntly as a way of bringing the thread back to its stated point. Pine Street here--fine. Pine Street there--global thermonuclear war. Good reason for it? Not really. Waban would survive, Waban will survive.

FK4
06-04-2015, 08:34 PM
I agree. It's just a more homogeneous place.