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This is the Massachusetts Housing Finance Agency (“MassHousing”) application for Project Eligibility/Site Approval (“Site Approval”) under the state’s comprehensive permit statute (M.G.L. c. 40B, Sections 20-23 enacted as Chapter 774 of the Acts of 1969) known as “Chapter 40B”. Developers seeking a comprehensive permit to construct affordable housing under Chapter 40B and intending to use a MassHousing financing program or financing through the New England Fund (“NEF”) program must receive Site Approval from MassHousing. This approval (also referred to as “project eligibility approval”) is a required component of any comprehensive permit application to be submitted to the local Zoning Board of Appeals of the municipality in which the development is to be located.

Getting started

As part of its review of your application, MassHousing will conduct an inspection of the site and will solicit comments from the relevant municipality. MassHousing will consider any relevant concerns that the municipality might have about the proposed project or the developer. The applicant is encouraged, therefore, to make contact with the municipality prior to submitting the Site Approval application in order to ensure that the applicant understands any concerns that the municipality may be likely to raise regarding the proposed development.

In order for a project to receive Site Approval, MassHousing must determine that (i) the applicant has sufficient legal control of the site, (ii) the applicant is a public agency, non-profit organization or limited dividend organization, and (iii) the applicant and the project are generally eligible under the requirements of the MassHousing program selected by the applicant, subject to final eligibility review and approval. Furthermore, MassHousing must determine that the site of the proposed project is generally appropriate for residential development (taking into consideration municipal actions previously taken to meet affordable housing needs) and that the conceptual project design is generally appropriate for the site. In order for MassHousing to be able to make these findings (required by 760 CMR 56.04 (4)), it is important that you answer all questions in the application and include all required attachments.

Upon completion of its analysis, MassHousing will either issue a Site Approval Letter that approves, conditionally approves or denies the application. If the application is approved, the applicant should apply to the Zoning Board of Appeals within two years from the date of the Site Approval Letter (unless MassHousing extends such term in writing).

Please note that Site Approval from MassHousing does not constitute a loan commitment by MassHousing or any other financing program. All potential MassHousing financing is subject to further review and underwriting by MassHousing’s Rental Lending Department.

Please be sure you have familiarized yourself with all of the applicable requirements set forth in the Chapter 40B regulations and guidelines, which can be found at:

Our Commitment to You

MassHousing recognizes that applicants seek some measure of predictability regarding the timeframe for our processing of their applications. Our staff will endeavor to adhere to the following schedule for reviewing applications for site approval:

Within one (1) week of receipt of your application (provided that you have attended a required pre-application meeting)* a member of our staff will notify you of any of the items listed on the checklist at the end of the application form that were missing from your application package. Please note that our acknowledgement of receipt of an item does not indicate that any substantive review has yet taken place.

If your application package is missing any of the items indicated on the checklist by an asterisk, we will not be able to continue processing your application until such items are received.

If we have received the information which is crucial to the commencement of our review process, we will proceed to (i) give the municipality a period of thirty (30) days in which to submit comments relating to your proposal, (ii) schedule and conduct a site visit, and (iii) solicit bids for and commission and review an “as is” appraisal of your site.

If during our review of your application package we determine that additional information or clarification is needed, we will notify you as soon as possible. Depending on when we receive such additional information, this may affect the amount of time required for MassHousing to complete the site approval process.

Assuming that your application package was complete and that you respond in a timely manner to requests for additional information or clarification, we would expect to issue or deny your site approval within 90 days of our receipt of your application package.

*For Site Approval applications, please contact Jessica Malcolm at to schedule a pre-application meeting.

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