H.3775 An Act reorganizing the Lexington Housing Assistance Board, Inc
Joseph Pato, Lexington Select Board Chair
I stand before you to convey the unanimous and enthusiastic support of the Select Board for this petition. A petition authorized by a 97% favorable vote at Town Meeting.
Lexington has a long and proud history of stepping forward on critical issues dating back to 1775.
In 1929, Lexington adopted the efficiencies of a representative town meeting. In 1956 the Legislature passed a special act establishing one of the first Historic District Commissions in Lexington; in 1983 the Legislature passed An Act Establishing a Nonprofit Housing Corporation for the Town of Lexington (aka LexHAB). Each of these represents a timely and at times revolutionary change for Lexington and the Commonwealth.
The expansion of affordable and attainable housing has long been a high priority goal for the Lexington Select Board. We have been well served by LexHAB for these past 40 years as they have developed a portfolio of clustered and scattered housing units. The unfortunate reality, however, is that we need to change again to meet the needs for housing growth in Lexington more efficiently.
The need for significant additional housing in the Commonwealth is well documented. This Spring, Lexington Town Meeting again blazed a trail. By a 63% favorable vote of Town Meeting, we are the first community to pass zoning bylaw changes to conform to the Commonwealth’s MBTA Communities requirements. Not just meeting the letter of the law, these changes exceed the minimum requirements so that the potential for real growth in much needed housing is more likely to be achieved.
By legislative design, however, this zoning does not allow the requirement for significant growth in affordable housing. However, we need growth in affordable and attainable housing in addition to market rate units.
The petition before you proposes to restructure and modernize LexHAB to align it with more efficient models established in other communities. We ask that you move this legislation forward speedily so that we can do our part to create affordable housing more effectively.
Thank you for your consideration.