MBTA Multi-Family Zoning MGL c.40A, sec. 3A

Final Guidelines for the Multi-Family Zoning Requirement for MBTA Communities were issued by the state on October 21, 2021. The Department of Housing and Community Development (DHCD) has also put together a webpage that they have been updating regularly.

This new regulation, which is part of the Housing Choice Initiative enacted in an economic development bill passed in January 2021, requires MBTA communities, including Middleton, to have at least one zoning district in which multi-family housing is permitted as of right and meets the other criteria in the statute including:

  • Minimum gross density of 15 units per acre
  • Not more than ½ miles from a commuter rail station, subway station, ferry terminal or bus station, if applicable
  • No age restrictions
  • Suitable for families with children

Failure to comply with these multifamily zoning requirements would make a community ineligible for funds from Housing Choice Grants, Local Capital Fund Projects, and MassWorks Infrastructure Program. DHCD may, in its discretion, take non-compliance into consideration when making other discretionary grant awards.

 TIMELINE FOR MAINTAINING COMPLIANCE WITH MBTA COMMUNITY ZONING

DEADLINE

TASK

   DATE COMPLETED BY TOWN

3/31/2022Submission of comments to DHCD3/22/2022
5/2/2022Select Board briefed on Draft Compliance Guidance & Submit Community Information FormBrief: 1/25/2022
Community Inf. Form Submitted: 4/7/2022
1/31/2023Submit an Action Plan that outlines the town's process for adopting compliant zoning1/11/2023
12/31/2024Submit Compliance Application to DHCD for approval


INFORMATION ON MBTA COMMUNITY ZONING REQUIREMENTS

Common misconceptions regarding MBTA community zoning requirements

Click Here

The following articles from Dain Research highlight different aspects of the MBTA Communities zoning law.

1. What is zoning capacity? 

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/what-the-mbta-communities-law-means-for-your-town/

 

2. What does 15/units per gross acre mean? 

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/solving-the-mbta-communities-zoning-puzzle/

 

3. What is by-right zoning, and why is the state promoting it? 

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/seeking-predictable-permitting-for-new-housing/

 

4. Where should new multi-family housing go? 

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/where-should-new-multi-family-housing-go/

 

5. What does it mean to zone for family-suitable multi-family housing? 

https://commonwealthmagazine.org/opinion/overcoming-the-restrictions-on-multi-family-housing/