Boston Commits to First-in-the-nation Zoning Amendment Proposed by Councilor Lydia Edwards

The City of Boston will zone with an eye towards equity. This morning during a working session hosted by Councilor Edwards, the lead sponsor of the zoning amendment, the Boston Planning and Development Agency committed to drafting fair housing into the zoning code. It will codify requirements removing barriers to housing choice,  affirmatively furthering fair housing, and addressing displacement. Councilor Lydia Edwards first introduced such an amendment in April 2019. When approved by the Zoning Commission later this year, the amendment will be the first of its kind in the country.

“I want to thank the administration for their commitment today to implementing this historic zoning amendment by the fall,” said Councilor Edwards. “With this amendment Boston is setting a standard for cities throughout the country to follow. For too long, zoning has played an unfortunate role in causing a lot of harm and perpetuating stereotypes about people and which communities matter and don’t matter. Today’s commitment by the administration to codify equity into zoning is an important step towards healing.”

In 2017, the Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Community Advisory Committee was established to examine the city’s efforts to further fair housing opportunities. On June 6, 2020 the committee held a town hall during which it released its report after three years of research. One of the group’s recommendations was codifying equity into the zoning code.

Another working session will be scheduled in the coming weeks to finalize the amendment after which the City Council will vote on it and send it to the Zoning Commission for final approval.

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