Council to Consider Rental Moratorium Request to ZBA

The City Council will soon take up a resolution calling for a moratorium on rentals in Chelsea.

The resolution was presented by Council President Roy Avellaneda at last week’s council meeting, and is headed for a council subcommittee meeting, which had not been scheduled as of Tuesday.

The moratorium is requesting that the Zoning Board put a temporary five-year moratorium on building permits for construction of 100 percent residential rental projects with a unit count greater than three on non-government owned or controlled land in the R1, R2, and R3 residential zones in the city.

“During the moratorium period, the City of Chelsea will be updating and amending its zoning bylaws in those zones and will be conducting outreach and analysis and preparing recommendations to the Planning Board and City Council,” the resolution from Avellaneda states. “The Community Development staff will lead a community engagement to help develop guidelines and potential zoning changes that adhere to a plan for increasing home ownership in those zones. Additionally, the City Manager and his staff will propose policy initiatives to encourage the construction of new home ownership opportunities and conversion of existing rental units to ownership opportunities.”

The moratorium asks the City Council to recognize that there are limited home ownership opportunities in Chelsea since 80 percent of the housing stock in the city is currently rentals.

Over the past 15 years, over 2,000 rental permits were permitted and built in Chelsea, and an estimated 700 additional rental units are planned to be filed with the Zoning Board of Appeals in the near future, according to Avellaneda. Within that same time period, the number of home ownership units built was less than 10 percent of the total of rental units built.

Avellaneda has pushed for affordable home ownership opportunities during his time on the Council, and has stated that the council and the city also has to look beyond the city’s Affordable Housing Trust Fund Board.

He has also been leading discussions on the appropriation of $75,000 for appraisal and consulting services that could eventually lead to the creation of affordable home ownership opportunities on Suffolk Street and Congress Avenue. 

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