What if Westfield decided not to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?

If Westfield does not zone for or provide a realistic opportunity for the construction of low and moderate income housing, it can be subject to lawsuits, called “builders remedy” lawsuits. A builder can come forward, challenge a municipality’s compliance with its obligations to provide low and moderate income housing and then, if the Court agrees with the builder, then the Court gets to decide what type of housing project the builder can build—how large a building, how many units, and how many affordable housing units and where it will be built. The Court has the ability to override any existing zoning. In brief, in such lawsuits, municipalities lose almost all control over the housing development projects.

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1. Why does Westfield need to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
2. What if Westfield decided not to provide an opportunity for low and moderate income housing?
3. How does the law define affordable housing? What’s the difference between low and moderate income housing?
4. What is the Fair Share Housing Center and why is there a settlement agreement with it?
5. Why even settle? Why not litigate?
6. What does the Settlement Agreement call for?
7. What is an overlay zone?
8. Where are the “overlay zones?”
9. The Settlement Agreement says that the Town has a rehabilitation share of 9 units, a prior round obligation of 139 units, and a prospective need obligation of 1090 units. That seems like a lot! What d
10. Are there plans already in place to develop these areas in the overlay zones?
11. What are these developments going to look like, and will Westfield become urbanized?
12. What impact will these new residential developments have on traffic and schools?
13. What are the next steps?