Inclusionary Zoning - Worcester Regional Chamber of Commerce

Inclusionary Zoning

Recently the Worcester City Council has voted on a proposed inclusionary zoning ordinance.

  • Developments with 12 or more units must reserve 15% of units for renters/buyers who earn 80% of the area medium income, or 10% for those who earn 60% AMI.
  • As well there is an option to forgo construction of income restricted if developers pay 3% of the total construction value of the project to the Affordable Housing Trust Fund


In recent years, Massachusetts at large has not produced enough housing of all types – apartments, condos, single-family homes – to accommodate its growing population and economy. Worcester has been no exception. The production of new housing will alleviate upward price pressure and improve the quality of housing.


The Chamber supported the city’s proposed Inclusionary Zoning Ordinance passed by the city council on April 11th.

  • The ordinance will provide Worcester residents with new options for mixed-income developments, affordable housing and market-rate developments.
  • As well Inclusionary Zoning will provide developers with the necessary incentives and options to make their project budgets work.

Workforce Housing

There are over 10,000 low-income households in Worcester. With the adoption of the inclusionary zoning ordinance in Worcester these low-income households would qualify for workforce housing units. 

  • Listed below are critical occupations for our economic and community all earn within the 80% AMI or lower:
    • Health care assistants
    • Teachers
    • Transportation workers
    • Social Workers,
    • Health care social workers
    • Guidance councilors

Mixed-Income Developments and More

As a policy tool, inclusionary zoning will increase the production of new housing, which will alleviate upward price pressure and improve the quality of housing.

When inclusionary zoning is combined with investments in rental assistance and first-time homeownership, the policy can help lower-income households who are facing unthinkable circumstances like displacement.

As an outcome, the inclusionary zoning requirement can create mixed income developments which create a stronger, more diverse, and more resilient economy in the city. We want to provide as many opportunities as possible to enjoy the benefits of economic development in Worcester.

What Inclusionary Zoning is Not Intended For

Inclusionary Zoning is not intended as a tool to provide public or low-income housing. It is to provide workforce housing. There are other policies and programs at the city, state and federal level that can be addressed to provide better policy tools to produce the public and low-income housing we need. As the housing developments that are built are dependent on the market not on city, state or federal aid.