Duplexes a ‘win-win tool’ to address housing crisis

March 22, 2024

I am writing in support of Article 35, which would allow duplexes in Residence B Zoning districts with a special permit. As we know, there is an acute affordable housing shortage in the Commonwealth generally, and in towns like Concord particularly. This scarcity is driving our elders out of town – and out of state – in search of a house (or an apartment) they can afford. 

Duplexes offer a creative “win-win” tool to help fix the housing problem. Seniors living in houses too big and tax-burdened for them to manage could create a smaller space for themselves, then sell or rent the duplexed half. The footprint of any duplex cannot exceed that of a single-family house. This option has the benefit of not adding appreciably to traffic or parking concerns, nor materially altering the character of a neighborhood. 

Concord already allows duplexes in Residence C districts. While not many have taken advantage of this zoning change so far, let’s increase the opportunities for individual homeowners to enhance their living situations while adding to our affordable housing stock. 

As a board member of the Concord Housing Foundation, which has voted unanimously to support this article, I urge you to vote yes on Article 35! 

Nancy McJennett 

Thoreau Street