At-Large City Councilor Annissa Essaibi George outlined proposals to reform Boston housing and development as mayor, including support for an anti-speculation tax and higher minimum affordable unit requirements in multifamily projects.

Essaibi George said she supports increasing the minimum affordable requirement from 13 to 20 percent in multifamily developments, giving developers incentives to include home ownership units instead of rentals, and offering fast-track permitting to projects with increased affordability.

The platform released today also calls for creation of a separate planning office independent of the Boston Planning & Development Agency, and a new department head who would oversee the BPDA along with the inspectional services department and Department of Neighborhood Development.

The proposed anti-speculation tax would target investors who buy condo units that are left vacant.

Mayoral candidates have been weighing in with proposals to reform the development process and encourage housing affordability as they seek to differentiate their positions in a six-way race leading up to the Sept. 14 preliminary election.

City Councilor Michelle Wu last week laid out a progressive agenda including support of rent control in certain neighborhoods and allocating $200 million in federal America Rescue Plan funds for anti-displacement programs, home ownership aid and housing creation.

Wu supports splitting up the BPDA, citing conflicts between its roles as planning, permitting and redevelopment agency. She supports revamping zoning with density bonuses for projects that exceed minimum affordability levels, encouraging higher density near major transit corridors and exempting 100 percent affordable projects from off-street parking requirements.

Multiple polls have put Wu and Essaibi George in the lead, with Acting Mayor Kim Janey a close second, among the six major candidates contesting this September’s preliminary election for Boston mayor.

Another candidate, District 4 Councilor Andrea Campbell, has supported enabling developers to transfer development rights to others if they do not build the maximum housing units on a property.

Campbell also wants to change the IDP so that projects in high-cost neighborhoods are required to include a higher percentage of affordable units, possibly over 20 percent.

Essaibi George Backs ‘Anti-Speculation’ Tax; Wu Backs Housing Funding

by Steve Adams time to read: 1 min