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News & Updates

BPDA advances zoning amendment to eliminate off-street parking minimums for affordable housing

Nov 18, 2021

At their monthly board meeting Thursday, the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA) Board voted to approve a text amendment to the zoning code to eliminate off-street parking minimums for affordable housing developments. 

The amendment will remove parking minimums for residential developments where at least 60 percent of the units are income-restricted at 100 percent Area Median Income (AMI) or below. This will streamline and remove burdens in developing affordable housing in Boston. 

“Eliminating parking minimums for affordable housing developments in Boston is a major step towards expediting much needed transit-oriented housing and moving forward on our climate and sustainability goals,” said BPDA Director Brian Golden. “I thank the BPDA staff and our partners in City Council who have helped us move this important zoning amendment forward.” 

This vote comes after the Boston City Council unanimously passed the text amendment to the zoning code at a meeting in October, put forward by Council President Pro Tempore Matt O’Malley and Councilor Kenzie Bok.

“The need to build affordable housing in Boston has never been more vital, with half of Boston's renters being rent-burdened,” said Council President Pro Tempore O’Malley. “Eliminating parking minimums is an impactful and commonsense policy solution that can provide transformative relief for affordable housing builders.”

“We know that every unit lost due to delay or the cost of unnecessary, mandated parking is a lost housing opportunity for someone who badly needs it. This zoning amendment allows the city and our partners to put homes for people first and remove parking minimums that don’t reflect our current needs,” said Councilor Kenzie Bok. “I’m so proud to have co-sponsored this with Councilor Matt O’Malley, and I’m grateful to folks like Mass Senior Action and others that shared and organized public testimony, as well as the BPDA, DND, and BTD for their partnership and support of this amendment.”

The text amendment to the zoning code will now go to the Zoning Commission for approval. The Commission is expected to consider the amendment at their next hearing on Wednesday, December 15, 2021.

BPDA Board votes to disburse $45,000 in grant funding to the Builders of Color Coalition

The BPDA approved $45,000 in grant funding to the Builders of Color Coalition for the creation of two fellowship programs known as the Builders of Color Core Fellowship, and the Real Estate Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship. The Builders of Color Core Fellowship will seek to help minority real estate business owners and focus on real estate market analysis, bidding, contracting, financial reporting, risk management, and project management. The Real Estate Diversity and Inclusion Fellowship will bring together leadership from real estate firms across the region to help them create diverse and equitable workplaces. 

"The Builders of Color Coalition brings the full force of the real estate sector to bear to solve the deep and appalling racial wealth gap in our city. The BPDA has been a critical anchor in this work, meaningfully shifting its ways over the past few years to be a strong partner in creating equity in the industry,” said Founder Dave Madan. “The fellowships we are launching together will give real estate firms the tools and action plans they need to expand the scope and reach of their work. We look forward to working closely with BPDA in this next major phase of our work. "

New Development

1813 Dorchester Avenue project moves ahead to build new housing in Dorchester

Live: 26 new units of housing, 4 income-restricted units
Work: 55 Construction jobs, new retail jobs across two ground floor commercial units totalling 2305 square feet of new local retail space
Connect: MBTA passes and BlueBikes memberships for residents

A new five story building totaling approximately 30,524 SF at 1813 Dorchester Avenue will contain 26 apartments, including four income-restricted units. The project will be situated on the corner of Dorchester Avenue and Banton Street, with convenient access to bus routes and the Ashmont MBTA station. The project will not include off-street parking. Rather, the building will feature approximately 2,204 square feet of retail space at the ground level, along with a residential lobby, a fitness center, and an interior bicycle storage. The project will generate an estimated 55 construction jobs.

In addition to the new project, the BPDA Board approved one update to a previously approved project

  • 449 Cambridge Street: The project was originally approved to have 166 total units, including 93 Compact Living Units. The proponent is removing the 93 compact units, increasing the size of the units, which will bring the total unit count down to 152. The unit mix has also changed. The project now includes 79 studios, reduced from 88, 46 one-bedroom units, reduced from 58, and 25 two-bedroom units, increased from 18. The 2 three-bedroom units remain. The commitment to provide 17 percent of the total number residential units as income-restricted units also remains.

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