For a couple of decades communities across the Commonwealth have followed the California lead requiring affordable housing to be created as part of commercial and residential development projects. In Dennis, while we have been encouraged to pursue this, we have resisted. Now, the California Supreme Court has ruled that inclusionary housing needs to follow the same rational nexus as impact fees. This could prove to be a challenge for some type of projects.
We have adopted affordable housing programs under zoning. However, we have tied these programs to Special Permit uses rather than mandating every development provide housing. In essence there is an exchange, density for housing. The California case, and many by-laws here in Massachusetts (especially those tied to subdivision approval), establishes that a nexus is going to be necessary, one that proves that new housing construction adversely affects the affordable housing supply.
It will be interesting to see. For now, it is safer stick with incentive zoning to encourage affordable housing over inclusionary mandates that could prove indefensible.