MAR Supports Zoning Reforms That are In line with Recent Report

December 16, 2019

- By The MAR Legal Team

MAR has long supported increasing housing production in Massachusetts. The current lack of housing in Massachusetts results in higher costs, exacerbating Massachusetts longstanding housing affordability crisis. Unfortunately, local zoning issues play a significant role in this crisis and preventing much-needed housing from being built.

To get a better understanding of these zoning issues, MAR was one of several sponsors of “The State of Zoning for Multi-Family Housing in Greater Boston.” The report was produced by Amy Dain of Dain Research. Dain is a public policy researcher and consultant. Dain conducted two years of research and came up with four major changes necessary to increase needed housing production in the state. They are:
1. Zone more land for multi-family housing, up and out.
2. Reform approval process, for flexibility and predictability.
3. Allow multi-family housing next to mixed-use hubs.
4. Allow more housing in centers (and near transit) and plan connected growth nodes on the edges.
Other sponsors for the report included the Massachusetts Smart Growth Alliance, MassHousing, Massachusetts Housing Partnership, Citizens’ Housing and Planning Association (CHAPA), Homebuilders and Remodelers Association of Massachusetts, and the Metropolitan Area Planning Council (MAPC).

In addition to the report, Dain has written, and plans to write more, articles and op-eds based on the research and the necessary changes. As a result, this Blog Post will be updated continually with new articles below as they’re written:

Accessory Dwelling Units

From the research, Dain has written an op-ed that aligns with our advocacy on Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs). MAR supports permitting ADUs as a good way to help produce the additional housing that the state needs and help homeowners add value to their houses. This type of housing is traditionally beneficial for the elderly, an underserved population in Massachusetts.

•  “Give Accessory Apartments a Shot” 12/15/2019 (CommonWealth)

•  “Accessory Dwelling Units are Needed” 12/7/2019 (MetroWest Daily NewsThe Milford   Daily News and The Patriot Ledger.)


Housing Production

Increased housing production is needed in order to turn back the affordability crisis that has been gripping Massachusetts for years. In these articles, Dain looks at the issues surrounding production and offers some solutions.

•      “Where should new housing go?” 11/15/2019 (CommonWealth)

•      “Mystic + Malden: A development case study” 11/10/2019 (CommonWealth)

•      “Building connectedness with star power” 11/9/2019 (CommonWealth)

•      “Zoning – the good and the bad” 10/31/2019 (CommonWealth)