The Town of Sunderland, with assistance from the FRCOG, recently completed an update to the Sunderland Housing Plan. The plan was submitted to the Department of Housing and Community Development in December for approval as the Town’s Housing Production Plan (HPP). An HPP identifies the housing needs of a community and the strategies it will use to facilitate the development of affordable housing, and provides information on population trends, existing types of housing, and current development conditions in town. On a broader level, the plan seeks to address questions that are important to the future of Sunderland: Will long-time residents be able to stay in town as they age? Will children who grew up in town be able to return to Sunderland to raise a family? Will people who are employed in Sunderland be able to afford to live in town?
Massachusetts’ Comprehensive Permit Act, or Chapter 40B, sets a goal of increasing the amount of long-term affordable housing to 10% of the housing stock in each community. In municipalities that have not met this goal, developers of affordable housing can take advantage of a streamlined permitting process that provides exceptions to local zoning requirements. If a town has an approved Housing Production Plan and is making demonstrable progress towards creating affordable housing, it may have more control over comprehensive permit applications. Sunderland is already making progress on implementing its plan through pursuing the development of affordable senior housing on Town-owned land in the village center. For more information on Housing Production Plans, see http://www.mass.gov/hed/community/40b-plan/housing-production-plan.html or contact Alyssa Larose at firstname.lastname@example.org .