To the Editor:

Milton is a wonderful town to live in, but property values are at an all-time high. Currently, the lack of affordable housing affects all walks of life, from long-term residents unable to remain in their cherished community to young professionals unable to afford or even find smaller homes suitable for starting a family.

How can we as a community create equitable housing while at the same time preserve our open spaces and historical buildings?

For decades, towns across the United States suppressed housing development through exclusionary zoning; with Milton now at less than 5 percent of affordable housing per the Subsidized Housing Inventory.

After the passing of the 40B legislation, we are therefore finding ourselves bombarded by Chapter 40B projects, through which developers can bypass local zoning laws by building housing with a percentage of affordable units (minimum of 20 percent).

Does the 40B program help Milton increase equitable housing? Not necessarily. While housing growth is promoted, developers are not held to a commitment to work with local leadership to ensure that their projects become an integral component of our larger vision.

As a result, Milton is faced with many 40B housing projects causing friction in the community and running the risk of becoming segregated pockets in their neighborhoods.

To stem the tide of these projects, we urgently need to adopt better zoning practices, engage with local developers, and proactively balance future housing needs with a vision rooted in Milton’s strengths.

– Robert Levash, AIA

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