#City & Town Planning
Belmont's Zoning Board of Appeals
United States of America

Dear neighbors,

In response to the hostile 40B development proposal for 91 Beatrice Circle, a few neighbors who are lawyers living in Belmont volunteered their time to figure out if Belmont can qualify for General Land Area Minimum Safe Harbor, showing that 1.5% of buildable land in Belmont is already part of the subsidized housing inventory (SHI). This is a complicated calculation that is unique to every town. It involves figuring out the total amount of buildable land in Belmont and accounting for every parcel of land in Belmont. This type of Safe Harbor can only be invoked when a town is facing a hostile 40B proposal as Belmont is right now.

What’s the good news?
The good news is that they figured out that Belmont, being a small town, does have above 1.5% affordable housing land coverage.

What needs to happen next?
The Town is willing to use its resources to make this case. The Belmont Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA) now needs to be willing to take this information to the state of MA to get the protection.

What can I do?
Please sign this petition by clicking Sign Petition at the bottom of the page and adding your name. And please pass this along to as many Belmontonians as possible. There is strength in numbers, and we need to show the ZBA that this is an important issue that they really need to pursue.

The ZBA has called a special meeting to discuss whether to take the time and effort to apply for safe harbor. The ZBA is made up of volunteers, and this is extra work. But we think it is worth it to protect our town. The easy way out is to grant the waivers that the 40B developer is seeking and move on. But our town, both current neighbors and future residents who will live in these new developments, deserve better.

What does Safe Harbor mean?
Getting Safe Harbor means that all of Belmont will be protected from 40B hostile development.

What does this mean for affordable housing?
Affordable housing will always be welcome in Belmont. Massachusetts 40B law gives a huge amount of power to developers at the town’s expense. With Safe Harbor, the ZBA retains its power to grant waivers to any regulations it would like. Developers would need to cooperate with the town instead of being able to bypass the town to push through projects that cover nearly all the usable site with asphalt, are 4-stories tall and so on. The ZBA would have more control to keep development reasonable.

What is the timing?
The ZBA will not accept comments about the Safe Harbor issue after this Friday, January 15, at noon. This petition will end at 10:30am on Friday to be sure we can submit it in time for them to see how many Belmont citizens think this is an important issue to pursue.

The ZBA special meeting on Thursday (1/21) at 7pm is for just the Safe Harbor issue, and we are not sure how much time will be given to public comment. Please attend if you can. Ask fellow Belmontonians to attend. The Safe Harbor data must be provided to the applicant (40B developer) and the state’s Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) within fifteen (15) days of the Board opening a hearing regarding a Comprehensive permit filed, so time really is of the essence.

Where can I read more?
Guidelines for General Land Area Minimum Safe Harbor

Details about the 40B proposal for 91 Beatrice Circle can be found here:
Belmont’s First Letter to Mass Housing
Belmont’s Second Letter to Mass Housing
91 Beatrice Circle 40B Project Documents

Please note: This is not a fundraising petition. Please do not submit any money to this petition. All we are asking for is your signature. Thank you!

We, the undersigned, believe it's important for Belmont's Zoning Board of Appeals to pursue the General Land Coverage Safe Harbor to get Belmont Safe Harbor from hostile 40B development.

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The ZBA: Please get Safe Harbor for Belmont petition to Belmont's Zoning Board of Appeals was written by Amanda Lubarsky and is in the category City & Town Planning at GoPetition.

Petition Tags

belmont 40B safe harbor