According to the Federal Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), affordable housing is a dwelling that someone can secure for 30 percent or less of their income. While the concept varies throughout the nation, it still provides countless residents options to keep roofs over their heads.
For many in Boston, the money saved is being depleted by off-street parking minimums that surround these residential developments. Residents are walking to their cars, only to see numerous parking violations with fines that could run the risk of financial ruin, particularly nearby a building with income-restricted units accounting for 60 percent of the entire Area Median Income (AMI) or lower.
A long-awaited solution
Mayor Michelle Wu signed the amendment unanimously passed by the Boston City Council in October and unanimously supported the Boston Zoning Commission and the Boston Planning & Development Agency (BPDA). She referred to it as a tool in the city’s toolbox that will eliminate an outdated concept and make the area more attractive to build additional housing for those struggling to make ends meet.
While not eliminating all parking on residential projects, the change will give individual projects the authority to determine how much off-street parking is necessary based on resident needs, not the now-defunct formula. The new guidelines will encompass maximum parking ratios based on each development’s choices when it comes to walkability and mobility options.
Simply put, it will streamline, if not outright remove burdens that impact those living in Boston-based affordable housing.