Executive Order

Executive Order  No. 215: Disbursement of state development assistance

Date: 03/15/1982
Issuer: Edward J. King
Mass Register: No. 304

Table of Contents


The development of affordable housing is critical to meeting the needs of the Commonwealth's population. In order to accommodate the growing housing needs of our population, Massachusetts needs to add to its housing supply over the next decade. Without a supply of affordable housing, Massachusetts will find it more difficult to attract and retain industry.

Massachusetts provides funding to its cities and towns through a variety of programs designed to foster sound growth and development. The distribution of discretionary funds should, to the maximum extent feasible, promote the balanced growth of the Commonwealth.

In some cities and towns, local regulations and restrictions have the effect of excluding the development of affordable housing. In so doing, they have imposed development costs inequitably on other communities and have impaired the ability of our citizens to locate affordable housing. It is appropriate, therefore, in the review of local applications for state development assistance that the city's or town's housing policies and practices be taken into consideration. This shall be accomplished so as not to infringe upon the constitutional right to home rule.

WHEREAS, housing growth, economic development, and environmental protection are statewide needs which are not mutually exclusive and are each vital to the balanced growth and development of the Commonwealth; and

WHEREAS, an ample supply of housing, with diversity in price and location, is necessary both for the well being of our citizens and for a strong state economy; and

WHEREAS, state development assistance should be awarded to cities and towns which are not unreasonably restrictive of housing growth;

NOW THEREFORE, I, Edward J. King, Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and by the statutes of this Commonwealth, do hereby order and direct that:

  1. All state agencies disbursing development-related financial assistance to cities or towns should consider, in making such discretionary awards, the applicant city's or town's housing policies and practices. It should be the general policy of all state agencies not to award discretionary funds to cities or towns which have been determined to be unreasonably restrictive of new housing growth. For the purposes of this Executive Order, "development-related assistance" may include (but is not limited to): economic development assistance; open space and recreation funds; technical assistance grants; so-called "urban systems" transportation improvements; conservation land grants; elderly housing; sewer collection system and water system grants; parking facility funds; convention center facility grants; federal grant funds for development-related activities; and the review of federal grant applications for development assistance. For the purpose of this Executive Order, "development related assistance" does not include local aid fund reimbursements or distributions.
  2. The Secretary of Communities and Development (hereinafter, the Secretary) shall make a determination, based on evidence submitted to him, regarding whether a city or town is or is not unreasonably restrictive of housing growth. In making this determination, the Secretary shall give special consideration to the city's or town's efforts to facilitate the development of housing for low and moderate income families. The city or town shall be notified in writing of the determination, and a negative determination shall be re-evaluated upon a showing of a significant effort toward policy re-direction. A listing of all determinations shall be distributed on a regular basis to all state agencies which disburse development-related assistance.
  3. Evidence may be submitted to the Secretary at any time regarding a particular city's or town's housing policies and practices, in accordance with procedures established by the Secretary. A copy of such evidence shall be forwarded to the chief elected official of the city, or the board of selectmen of the town, and the city or town shall be provided an opportunity to respond to the evidence as submitted. The Executive Office of Communities and Development shall solicit housing information from time to time, in order that a state housing profile may be compiled.
  4. The Secretary shall respond within 14 days to requests from agencies regarding whether a specific city or town is or is not unreasonably restrictive of housing growth. If the timely award of assistance is critical, the Secretary may waive this review period. Each state agency which disburses development-related assistance to cities and towns shall cooperate with the Executive Office of Communities and Development to establish a mutually acceptable procedure to review, based upon the Secretary's heretofore declared determination of an applicant city's or town's housing policies, what course of action should be required on the application for the development related assistance.
  5. Exceptions to the above defined requirements shall be granted for awards that are regionally significant, unique, or in the public interest upon petition of the Cabinet Secretary responsible for the funding agency to, and with the concurrence of, the Commissioner of Administration.
  6. The Executive Office of Communities and Development, at the request of the city or town, shall provide assistance to those cities and towns which have been determined to be unreasonably restrictive of new housing growth to develop a specific strategy, with clearly defined actions, to facilitate the development of affordable housing. Once a strategy has been developed, and it has been approved by the Secretary and by the appropriate local boards and commissions responsible for its implementation, the Secretary shall make a determination that the city or town is not unreasonably restrictive of new housing growth, and shall so notify all appropriate state funding agencies.

Given at the Executive Chamber in Boston this 15th day of March in the year of Our Lord one thousand nine hundred and eighty-two and of the Independence of the United States of America two-hundred and six.



Commonwealth of Massachusetts


Secretary of the Commonwealth

Contact   for No. 215: Disbursement of state development assistance

Help Us Improve Mass.gov  with your feedback

Please do not include personal or contact information.