REALTORS® Support MBTA Communities

In 2021, Massachusetts enacted MBTA Communities, the most significant pro-housing law passed in decades. Now, it’s up to 177 cities and towns to comply with its requirements or risk losing state funding and face potential lawsuits. Click here to see if your town is included.

Most communities have up to two years to adopt the law’s required multifamily zoning district. The deadline for towns served by rapid transit is fast approaching at the end of 2023. Commuter rail and MBTA-adjacent towns follow at the end of 2024. Zoning amendments take time and, in many towns, face significant opposition from NIMBY groups. As a result, it’s critical for these communities to start making incremental planning steps today.

MORE HOUSING IN YOUR COMMUNITY WILL:

  • Create a better housing market with lower costs and stable rents.
  • Allow seniors to downsize in place and their grandchildren to afford homes in town.
  • Provide an opportunity for our communities to become more inclusive and diverse.
  • Increase town tax bases to help support schools, infrastructure, and amenities.

Here’s more information to empower this conversation…

WHAT DOES THE LAW DO?

The law requires communities served by the MBTA to create a reasonably sized zoning district that allows multifamily housing by-right at a density of 15-units per acre. This is modest density that can be satisfied by duplexes, townhomes, carriage houses, and small apartment buildings.

WHAT IS ZONING?

Zoning laws govern what can and can’t be built in different parts of your town. They typically divide the town into “zones”, and each has their own rules for development. Many towns make multifamily housing exceedingly difficult to build and few allow it by-right, meaning without having to jump through extensive, expensive, and unpredictable hoops.

HOW CAN I GET INVOLVED?

  • Download our information sheet and share it widely.
  • Talk to your neighbors and local elected officials. Let them know that you support MBTA Communities!
  • Towns have several months to plan their zoning around the law’s requirements and will likely hold public conversations. Insert yourself into that process. Push for plans that make sense for your community and share your vision on why it’s important for everyone to embrace this desperately needed change.
  • For more information on getting involved in your town, contact Audrey Hettinger, MAR Government Affairs Manager.

Stay Connected

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