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Boston Mayor Eyeing Higher Fees, Affordability Requirements for New Development

Boston Mayor Michelle Wu is looking to add more requirements for new development projects in the city. This week, Wu proposed amending Boston’s Inclusionary Development Policy to increase the percentage of affordable units for new multifamily buildings with 7 or more units to 20 percent, a jump from the current rules which require buildings with more than 10 units to have 13 percent designated as affordable. Wu also proposed changing city policy around linkage fees, which developers pay to a city-run affordable housing fund, by lowering the size threshold for projects that are required to pay the fees from 100,000 to 50,000 square feet, and doubling the fees that lab buildings would have to pay.

The changes would have to be approved by city agencies including the Boston Planning & Development Agency and Zoning Commission and would have to pass a City Council vote. Wu’s proposal is one of many that the Mayor has made over the past several months aimed at increasing housing affordability in the city, which has some of the highest housing costs in the country. Over the summer, Mayor Wu announced a push to more strongly enforce a decades-old rule requiring developers of large projects to invest in childcare with their projects. That move was followed by a new policy requiring some developers to disclose diversity figures of their project teams, and more recently, a new tax on real estate transactions that would go toward creating and preserving affordable housing in the city.

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