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Inclusionary Housing Zoning Petition

The City Council is currently considering a Zoning Petition which would change the inclusionary provisions in the Zoning Ordinance. The details of this petition can be found in the Documents tab below or at http://www.cambridgema.gov/CDD/zoninganddevelopment/Zoning/Amendments.

The process began when the Community Development Department commissioned an Inclusionary Housing Study to examine the current inclusionary housing provisions in the Cambridge Zoning Ordinance and determine whether any changes to the ordinance are warranted. David Paul Rosen and Associates (DRA) was selected to conduct the study, which analyzed changes in the housing market and demographics in the city, looked at similar provisions in other communities, and conducted an economic analysis of alternative inclusionary housing standards. The study, which was completed in April 2016, made several program and policy recommendations for changes to the inclusionary housing provisions in the city’s Zoning Ordinance (Section 11.200 of the Zoning Ordinance), including increasing the proportion of affordable units in new market-rate development up to 20%.

The study has been reviewed and discussed by the Housing Committee of the City Council through a series of public meetings. The Affordable Housing Trust also reviewed the study and its recommendations. CDD has discussed the study with interested residents, community groups, business groups and residential developers. Based on the recommendations from the Housing Committee, a zoning petition with recommended changes to the inclusionary housing provisions of the ordinance has been submitted to the City Council. The Ordinance Committee held meetings to review the recommended petition and approved several amendments to it. The amended petition has been submitted to the City Council and is now under review. 


Currently, the Zoning Petition has been referred by the Ordinance Committee to the City Council where it is now under consideration.

To date:

The Housing Committee of the City Council conducted a series of six public meetings about the Inclusionary Housing Study from May 18 to September 8. These meetings included:

  • public comment initially focusing on collecting questions for the DRA study consultant;
  • a presentation by CDD of the study; a presentation by and discussion with the DRA consultant who prepared the study;
  • review and discussion of the Cambridge Affordable Housing Trust recommendations;
  • a presentation of the study conducted by Landwise on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce;
  • continuing discussion of the Affordable Housing Trust and CDD recommendations;
  • and ongoing community input and public comment.

On September 8, the Housing Committee voted on its recommendations to the inclusionary provisions in the Zoning Ordinance.

On November 21, the City Manager submitted the Petition for Zoning Amendments to the Inclusionary Housing Provisions of the Zoning Ordinance to the City Council.

The Ordinance Committee of the City Council held two public meetings to discuss the petition on January 4 and February 28. The Committee adopted amendments to the Zoning Petition and has referred it to the City Council.

Minutes and videos from the meetings can be found at the Open Meeting Portal for the City of Cambridge


  • April 11, 2016: Inclusionary Housing Study submitted to City Council
  • April 28, 2016: Affordable Housing Trust meeting
  • May 3, 2016: Presentation to Planning Board - postponed
  • May 18, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • May 26, 2016 Affordable Housing Trust meeting
  • May 31, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • July 11, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • July 12, 2016: Presentation to Planning Board
  • August 15, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • August 30, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • September 8, 2016: City Council Housing Committee meeting
  • November 21, 2016: City Council refers to the Ordinance Committee the Petition for Inclusionary Housing Amendments to the Zoning Ordinance
  • December 20, 2016: Planning Board meeting
  • January 4, 2017: Ordinance Committee meeting
  • February 28, 2017: Ordinance Committee meeting 
  • March 20, 2017: On Agenda for the City Council meeting in the Sullivan Chamber, City Hall

Community Development Department
344 Broadway
Cambridge, MA 02139

For additional information on the Housing Inclusionary Study, please contact Linda Prosnitz at lprosnitz@cambridgema.gov.