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Government Relations

We provide a powerful platform for collective action to tackle the challenges of today, and tomorrow. We connect with government, business, nonprofits, community leaders and a range of organizations, at the city, state, regional level and beyond. We keep our members informed, and we engage to develop shared positions and advocate for innovative solutions for our most pressing societal issues.   

City Issues:

Affordable Housing Overlay

Background: Adopted by the City Council in October 2020, the 100% Affordable Housing Overlay (AHO) is designed to facilitate the creation of new, permanently affordable homes by affordable housing developers. It allows for the construction of denser affordable housing than permitted under base zoning and establishes a streamlined review process for quicker project approval. The AHO addresses challenges faced by affordable housing developers, such as competition with market-rate developers and zoning limitations in certain areas. The aim is to reduce development costs, expedite the creation of affordable units, and optimize the use of public funding.

For more detailed information about the purpose of these amendments and the AHO in general, please visit the City’s website.

Article 22/Building Emissions Accounting Amendment

Background: Cambridge proposed this amendment in early 2022. It would require applicants for most Green Building Projects to provide, as part of their compliance with Cambridge’s net zero goals, an accounting for greenhouse gas emissions generated by construction, the expected annual emissions generated by routine building operations, lifetime expected emissions until the year 2050, and total expected emissions. This requirement would not apply to any residential buildings that include affordable units. Since then, Cambridge City Councillors have discussed the third, and most recent, iteration of this amendment in City Council Hearings. KSA is keeping a close watch on Article 22.  KSA is committed to sustainability, and is prepared to advocate on our members’ behalf. 


Background: BEUDO stands for the Building Energy Use Disclosure Ordinance and it applies to buildings over 25,000 square feet in Cambridge. It requires property owners to keep track of and publicly report their buildings’ annual energy use, as the release of harmful greenhouse gas (GhG) emissions into the environment is a concern. BEUDO is an ordinance that property owners helped to implement in 2014 as a first step in addressing the role of buildings in climate action.

KSA continues to be  engaged with the City Council, City staff, and business community stakeholders to ensure that BEUDO is implemented responsibly with an appreciation of the scientific, technical, economic, and practical implications for our members. KSA is committed to combating climate change and advocacy on our members’ behalf. 

Lab Ban

Background: In 2022, three different processes were initiated seeking implementation of a “lab ban” in certain business and commercial sections of the City, including Central Square, East Cambridge, Harvard Square, Inman Square, and beyond.  None of these efforts seeks to ban labs in Kendall Square. While these efforts do not ban labs in Kendall Square, they do seek to ban labs in spaces adjacent to and near Kendall Square.

Single Use Plastics

Background: The Zero Waste Master Plan (ZWMP) by the City of Cambridge is a strategic initiative aimed at reducing waste generation. It targets a 30% reduction by 2020 and an 80% reduction by 2050 from 2008 waste levels. This plan prioritizes maintaining high-quality public services in waste management while maximizing operational efficiency and ensuring the health and safety of employees and the public.

Additionally, the ZWMP evaluates costs associated with waste management and investigates how waste reduction can impact greenhouse gas emission goals. It collaborates with the citywide comprehensive plan, Envision Cambridge, to integrate efforts for a more sustainable waste management strategy, setting a progressive example for urban areas striving towards environmental sustainability.

The City has implemented several progressive measures to increase diversion and reduce waste, such as City ordinances banning polystyrene takeout containers, single-use plastic bags, and mandatory recycling.

Specialized Stretch Energy Code

Background: The City Council adopted the Specialized Stretch Code on Monday, January 23, 2023 at its weekly city council meeting. The Specialized Stretch Energy Code adds to the updated Stretch Energy Code by requiring new buildings that use fossil fuels to be pre-wired for full electrification and to install solar panels where possible. The code will have an effective date of July 1, 2023. 

For more information about the Specialized Stretch Code, visit the Massachusetts state webpage on the Stretch Energy Code.