100 Percent Affordable Housing Overlay
Adopted by the City Council in October 2020, the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) is designed to help affordable housing developers create new, permanently affordable homes more quickly, more cost effectively, and in areas of the city where there are currently fewer affordable housing opportunities. The AHO allows the creation of new, permanently affordable housing that is denser than what might be allowed under base zoning, and creates a new review process through which new affordable housing can be approved more efficiently.
Affordable housing developers often cannot compete with market-rate developers who can afford to pay more for land and buildings. There are also areas of the city where current zoning makes the creation of new affordable housing infeasible. Allowing affordable housing providers to build more densely than market-rate developers through the AHO will create new opportunities to create new, permanently affordable housing. Streamlining the approval process for new 100%-affordable housing will help reduce development costs and allow affordable housing providers to create new affordable units more quickly while using public funding more effectively.
Overlay Zoning Update in 2023
In October 2023, the City Council voted to amend the AHO, allowing taller heights for affordable housing developments in higher-density zoning districts, major squares, and mixed-use corridors, as well as reducing required setbacks citywide.
Affordable Housing Zoning Ordinance, as amended:
Affordable Housing Overlay Zoning Ordinance – see Article 11.207
Design Guidelines for Affordable Housing Overlay Developments:
AHO design guidelines
Proposed Affordable Housing Overlay Projects in the Pipeline:
Upcoming AHO Public Meetings:
For updates and information, subscribe to the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay email list.
Learn more about how the idea for the 100%-Affordable Housing Overlay was generated, including materials related to the adoption of the ordinance.
For general questions about the AHO or to discuss potential AHO projects, please contact Cassie Arnaud, Senior Housing Planner at email@example.com or 617-349-4617.