Chapter 40B Design Review Handbook for Massachusetts

Making approvals less time consuming and less expensive was paramount to the creation of the Handbook: Approach to Chapter 40B Design Reviews. This handbook creates a shared language and vision of well-designed housing in order to create models of success for future developments to follow. Affordable housing is an art as well as an industry and ultimate success is in the blending of the two.

Chapter 40B has a long history of success in Massachusetts. Enacted in 1969, it is credited with having produced over 58,000 units of housing for owners and renters, seniors and families, special needs households and veterans. Ch. 40B provides a powerful tool for the production of affordable housing. Within the accompanying Regulations and Guidelines are certain standards for determining design compatibility. This handbook acts as a standardized reference with sufficient explanatory text and graphics so that developers, supporting agencies and housing organizations may easily define the character, features and context of proposed 40B projects in relation to each particular setting, using a consistent vocabulary of design terms and criteria.

Prepared by The Cecil Group, the Handbook is a result of a collaborative process of the four Massachusetts housing agencies that are authorized to review and approve site eligibility for Chapter 40B affordable housing developments, Massachusetts Department of Housing & Community Development, MassDevelopment, MassHousing, and Massachusetts Housing Partnership. This handbook is a reflection of these agencies and their commitment to ensuring that 40B affordable housing developments adhere to high standards of site and building design that enhance the quality of life for residents and the communities in which they reside.

View the guidelines. 

This project was completed by The Cecil Group prior to merging with Harriman.