Home is where the house is

There is a housing crunch in and around Boston. The city’s population is growing at a near-record pace and jobs are coming to the area with the potential for thousands more, if Amazon ever makes up its mind about its new headquarters.

The cost of living in town is a deterrent to many young folks with the limited housing supply and it is creating a dilemma for surrounding communities who are seeing rents and house prices rise as competition takes hold.

There will be some relief as mayors from 15 cities including Boston are stepping up to pledge 185,000 new housing units by 2030, which seems to be a magical date these days for deadlines. Boston Mayor Marty Walsh had promised 69,000 new units by 2030, when the population of the city is projected to be about 760,000 people, up from the previous estimate of 707,000 just four years ago.

With that kind of population influx, it will take a bunch of villages to meet the expanded needs. There’s no set target for each of the cities to hit to make up for the remaining 116,000 units but all the mayors acknowledge there is a “housing emergency” on the horizon, as Somerville Mayor Joseph Curtatone said.

“No community can do this alone,” Marc Draisen, executive director of the Metropolitan Area Planning Council, told the Boston Globe.

One thing the cities will have to do is ramp up their permitting and the production with help from Beacon Hill. Since 2010, the 15 cities have permitted just 32,500 housing units. That means they will have to push out three times that average annual number over the next 12 years to meet the goal.

Some of the cities are already experiencing housing problems because of the hot job and housing market. Quincy Mayor Thomas Koch, in a recent conversation with CommonWealth, acknowledged his own’s son’s fears in being unable to buy a house in the city he grew up in. Quincy is already redeveloping its downtown with a focus on housing, much of it relying on the MBTA’s Red Line and access to Boston to fill the units.

But there will also be some resistance. Newton Mayor Ruthanne Fuller said some residents have expressed concern that new housing will bring pressure on schools and traffic, not to mention upend the upscale community’s quality of life. Fuller said, like Quincy, her focus will be developing the housing around the T stops in the city.

Even in Boston, where the pressure has been on the Walsh administration for some time to expand housing, there’s a pushback from both property owners looking to stall development and tenants’ advocates worried low-income residents will be priced out of the city. A recent conference in Boston by YIMBY (Yes In My BackYard) organizers brought the spotlight on the need for more housing, if not the best approach to it. But one thing all agree upon is there’s not enough room for everyone in and around Boston for the future.

“We are looking at that phenomenon and whether or not that is true,” said Sheila Dillon, the city’s housing director, told CommonWealth recently about the concern of pushing low-income tenants out of the city. “But we take the larger view that we have to increase supply throughout the city, throughout the region if we are going to get our rent and sales prices in check.”



The state Department of Public Utilities is pressing National Grid on alleged safety violations during the lockout of the company’s workers, but the utility says it’s confident in its overall approach to field work. (State House News) A Gloucester Times editorial says Grid’s workers need to be back on the job.

Joe Battenfeld adds his voice to those calling on Gov. Charlie Baker to come forward with information on the status of a federal investigation of an incident in which his son allegedly groped a woman on a flight from Washington, DC, to Boston. (Boston Herald)

A Daily Item editorial says wage theft should be at the top of the Legislature’s to-be-addressed list.


Columbia Gas says it is upping its efforts this week in the quest to rebuild the gas pipeline infrastructure serving Merrimack Valley areas that have been without service since last month’s explosions and fires. (Boston Globe)

It looks like the fight between Boston and Quincy over a bridge to Long Island is going to be long and expensive. (WBUR)

The Department of Housing and Urban Development has ordered the Fall River Housing Authority to open up its elderly complexes to young disabled residents. (Herald News)


The New York Times published a 14,000-word report that was the result of an exhaustive investigation into President Trump’s personal financial history that the paper says debunks the myth of him being a self-made billionaire and suggests much of his and his siblings’ wealth comes from fraudulent use of the federal tax codes.

He went there: After weeks of relative restraint, Trump derisively mocks Dr. Christine Blasey Ford at a rally in Mississippi over her allegations of sexual assault by Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh. (Washington Post)


Women politicians are bucking past conventions and showing their anger. (Boston Globe)

Sen. Elizabeth Warren endorses Democratic Suffolk County district attorney nominee Rachael Rollins, who faces independent Michael Maloney in the November general election. (Boston Herald)

Secretary of State William Galvin was accused by his Republican challenger, Anthony Amore, of using the election voter guide to boost his political profile. (Salem News)

Attorney General Maura Healey traveled to Pittsfield to endorse Andrea Harrington for district attorney. (Berkshire Eagle)


More than 1,500 workers at seven Boston Marriott hotels walked off the job this morning in the first hotel workers strike in the city’s history. (Boston Globe)

Redevelopment of the former South Weymouth air base has hit lots of snags. (Boston Globe)

Two applicants are on the verge of being granted recreational marijuana licenses — but they won’t be able to start sales until the state approves a testing facility that all weed products must pass muster with. (Boston Globe)

Ebay has sent a cease and desist letter to Amazon, claiming the online retail giant has illegally poached sellers. (Wall Street Journal)


MassLive provides a breakdown on what teachers are paid across Massachusetts.

Quincy College has seen a 27 percent drop in enrollment this year although officials said they anticipated even worse numbers since the state revoked the school’s nursing certification because of lagging passing rates. (Patriot Ledger)

Brockton High School received a $27,000 grant from Major League Baseball that will be used to build two new batting cages for the baseball and softball teams and buy new uniforms for the softball team. (The Enterprise)

Dennis and Yarmouth selectmen have tentatively reached a deal to restructure the regional school pact after Yarmouth officials had threatened to withdraw grades 4 through 7 from the district. (Cape Cod Times)


Paul Hattis of Tufts University Medical School asks: Can we make the (bad) Beth Israel-Lahey merger work? (CommonWealth)

A national survey suggests assaults against emergency room health care providers is a growing problem. (Boston Globe)


A Herald editorial urges action to tackle the Boston region’s increasing traffic congestion, including greater focus on public transportation.


A federal judge threw out a lawsuit brought by the two Connecticut casinos against MGM Springfield. (MassLive)

Brockton city councilors set aside a proposal to exempt the city’s two medical marijuana dispensaries from the ongoing recreational pot moratorium, fearing it would prompt legal action form others waiting for retail licenses. (The Enterprise)

Wayland took the first step to ban recreational marijuana in town after voters overwhelmingly approved a ban in a special election. The ban now goes before Town Meeting next month for final approval. (MetroWest Daily News)


The Supreme Judicial Court heard a case yesterday that centers on whether it was appropriate to exclude from a jury a man who said he believed the system was “rigged” against blacks, with the issue coming down to whether that represents an impermissible bias or simply a statement of fact. (Boston Globe)

Suffolk County District Attorney John Pappas backs legislation filed by Gov. Charlie Baker to change the bail process in Massachusetts. (Daily Item)


The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, and Caucus join forces to cover the state capital in Pennsylvania. (The Inquirer)