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Can state law combat exclusionary zoning? Evidence from Massachusetts


  • Lynn M Fisher

    (University of North Carolina, USA)

  • Nicholas J Marantz

    (University of California, Irvine, USA)


This paper empirically analyses a Massachusetts law (Chapter 40B) allowing developers of income-restricted housing to appeal local land-use decisions to a state administrative body. Based on a unique dataset, we assess whether Chapter 40B was more likely to be used by developers in municipalities that place stronger restrictions on development. We find that the use of Chapter 40B to overcome regulatory barriers depends on the type of project. For rental development, developers were more likely to use the law in municipalities that were relatively accessible to jobs and that placed relatively stringent zoning restrictions on multifamily development. The use of Chapter 40B for condominium development was more likely in larger, less well-located municipalities with relatively stringent wetlands regulations.

Suggested Citation

  • Lynn M Fisher & Nicholas J Marantz, 2015. "Can state law combat exclusionary zoning? Evidence from Massachusetts," Urban Studies, Urban Studies Journal Limited, vol. 52(6), pages 1071-1089, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:sae:urbstu:v:52:y:2015:i:6:p:1071-1089

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    Blog mentions

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    1. New Yimby City: A Roundtable Q&A with Open New York (Part II)
      by Jason Barr in Skynomics Blog on 2021-04-19 12:22:15


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    Cited by:

    1. Gilbert, Catherine & Gurran, Nicole, 2021. "Can ceding planning controls for major projects support metropolitan housing supply and diversity? The case of Sydney, Australia," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 102(C).
    2. Le Bivic, Camille & Melot, Romain, 2020. "Scheduling urbanization in rural municipalities: Local practices in land-use planning on the fringes of the Paris region," Land Use Policy, Elsevier, vol. 99(C).


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